America’s supply chain forms a crucial part of the wider interlinked networks that span our planet and make global trade possible.
Our nation’s supply chains make cross-border exports to neighboring Canada and Mexico closer to home. Last but not least, our chains ensure the delivery of materials, products, and food supplies to communities across the United States.
The constant transportation of goods – largely unnoticed by many Americans – captured the public eye as it faltered amid disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. Much attention has been paid to the ongoing shortages of drivers – but what about those whose role makes those truck journeys possible?
Shipping agents play an essential role in the logistics industry, ensuring that freight shipments get from A to B as safely, efficiently, and quickly as possible.
Let’s explore how these agents keep America’s supply chain humming, what it takes to excel in this career, and how you can find out more.
What role do shipping agents play in a supply chain?
They might not be out on the open road, but shipping agents – also known as freight agents – provide the behind-the-scenes preparation that ensures the right shipment, vehicle, and driver are all in the same place – at the same time!
Shipping agents can work in various formats; they might work directly for a specific freight carrier, work independently as their own business, or be associated with a logistics company or brokerage.
In this role, shipping agents will coordinate with other players in the logistics game: shippers, vendors, carriers, freight brokers, drivers, freight forwarders, warehousers, traffic managers, logistics firms – and more!
Each of these roles forms a link in the complex chain of the American supply chain, and none of them could function as well (if at all) without the others playing their part.
As America – and the worldwide community – struggle to overcome the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, now more than ever, the logistics industry needs dedicated professionals to enter the industry and keep the supply chain cogs turning.
Shipping agent tasks and responsibilities
The main responsibility of a shipping agent is to handle and transport the freight shipments entrusted to them by a business or shipper.
So, what exactly does a shipping agent do daily? Working in logistics can be a varied and fast-paced role, and typical responsibilities can include:
- Handling sales calls and negotiating with clients
- Taking orders and booking freight transportation
- Arranging and optimizing freight transportation routes
- Assigning drivers and vehicles to shipments
- Supervising the loading and unloading of shipments (when working on-site)
- Recommending the most suitable vehicle and packing requirements for a given shipment
- Preparing client invoices and keeping financial records
- Coordinating with carriers and drivers to arrange for the collection and delivery of shipments
- Maintaining a working knowledge of the logistics industry, relevant trends, and up-and-coming technologies
Shipping agent career possibilities
Image source: Adobe Stock
Suppose you have experience working as a shipping agent or are curious about entering the logistics industry. In that case, there are plenty of associated roles and careers for you to explore – inside the industry and out!
In addition to the possibility of promotion into senior or managerial positions (if you work in an employed capacity), or for the expansion of your business (if you work for yourself), experience as a shipping agent could lead you to work as a:
- Operations manager
- Logistics manager
- Supply chain manager
- Warehouse manager
- Distribution manager
- Import/export coordinator
- Purchasing agent
- Supply chain consultant
One of the key benefits of getting started as a shipping agent is that you don’t necessarily need any prior experience – logistics is an accessible industry that values a range of talents and skill sets!
To explore more about the career you could experience as a shipping agent, you can check out Jansson’s careers page here.
What are the benefits of working as a shipping agent?
Working as a shipping agent can be a great career path for many.
With an average annual salary in the US of $48,412 and the opportunity to increase this depending on your experience and the hours you’re able to invest in the role, working as a shipping agent can be a great way to boost your income.
Not only that, but there are increasing opportunities for independent shipping agents to have the flexibility of working from home, either full-time or within a hybrid working arrangement. This makes a career as a shipping agent a great choice for anyone looking to balance work with home commitments, avoid long commutes, or gain the flexibility of choosing their hours.
If you choose to work independently or work towards doing so, you’ll also have the chance to build your own business. Unlike many other industries, scaling your business is highly realistic as a shipping agent. The role requires you to network extensively with carriers, shippers, and other agents, making it easy to advance your entrepreneurial network.
Really, what’s not to love?
Are you ready to join the shipping agents powering America’s supply chain?
At Jansson, we’ve been putting loads on the road across North America and beyond for over a decade – and we’ve got the miles to prove it!
If you’re looking to explore the logistics industry, work as a shipping agent, or find the right logistics career for you, then Jansson is here to guide you every step of the way.
As an independent agent of Landstar, we have the expertise, tools, and connections to ensure you start your shipping agent career on the best foot. To learn more about how Jansson can help you kickstart your shipping agent career and join the task force powering the American supply chain, reach out to us today!