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Freight Forwarder Profile


This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as a Freight Forwarder. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as a Freight Forwarder
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Freight Forwarders Work Information

Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Freight forwarders, also known as freight clerks or shipping clerks, deal with arranging the movement of goods. It is their job to find the most appropriate and cost-effective way of moving goods between countries, and co-ordinate the arrangements.

Freight forwarders speak with carriers, such as road, rail, air and sea companies, and confirm transport arrangements. The also liaise with clients, advising them of the costs of transporting goods and the arrangements that have been made.

When working on behalf of an importer, it may be necessary to clear goods through customs, arrange the payment of duties and taxes, and organise the delivery of goods to the importers premises.

Other duties include:

  • selecting safe routes and carriers (road, rail, sea and air)
  • booking transport cargo space
  • dealing with transport rates, insurance and schedules
  • making calculations by weight, volume and cost
  • using a computer to input freight details and routes
  • preparing quotations and invoices
  • preparing contracts such as Bills of Lading and Letters of Credit
  • communicating with carriers and clients by letter, phone, fax and email.

Hours and Environment:

Freight forwarders normally work 37 hours a week, Monday to Friday, and may have to work Saturdays on a rota. Some companies operate shift patterns and out-of-hours work.

Freight forwarding offices are normally light, airy and well equipped.

Skills and Interests:

To be a freight forwarder, you should:

  • have good verbal and written communication skills
  • have good numeracy skills
  • be accurate and pay attention to detail
  • have basic computer skills
  • be able to prioritise your work
  • be diplomatic
  • have an interest in geography
  • be able to hold a conversation in a foreign language, for some jobs.


The qualifications needed to start work and training as a freight forwarder vary between employers. Some employers look for people with a good level of general education, for example some GCSEs (A-C)/S grades (1-3), including English and maths, but many new entrants join with A levels/H grades, and some have a relevant diploma or degree.

Relevant degree, foundation degree and BTEC HND courses are offered at a range of centres throughout the country. Courses include international transport, logistics supply chain management and transport management. Business degree and diploma courses may also be relevant.

For details of qualification equivalents see:

Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
Scottish Qualifications Authority
An Access to Higher Education qualification may also be accepted for entry to certain courses. If experienced in a related field, you may be able to gain recognition of skills through Accredited Prior Learning (APL). Please check with colleges or universities for exact entry requirements.

Experience in road or rail transport operations can also be used as entry into this field.


There are NVQs/SVQs at levels 2, 3 and 4 in International Trade and Services. Other relevant NVQs/SVQs include those in warehousing, distribution and road freight, administration, accounting and information technology.

For those working in freight services in the UK, the British International Freight Association (BIFA) now offers a qualification route. Some larger employers offer graduate training schemes - further information from BIFA.

The Institute of Export offer relevant qualifications including the Advanced Certificate in International Trade and the Diploma in International Trade. To get on a course, you need to become a member of the Institute. This requires four GCSEs (A-C)/S grades (1-3), and one A level, or NVQ Level 2 in International Trade and Services. Completion of the Advanced Certificate and Diploma leads to professional status with the Institute, and use of the letters MIEx (Grad). The Institute also offer short training courses for members and non-members.

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport also offer training courses from introductory to professional levels for new entrants and more experienced staff.

Foundation and Advanced Modern Apprenticeships (MAPPs) may be available for people aged 16-24.
For details see: MAPPs (England); Skillseekers MAPPs (Scotland); National Traineeships MAPPs (Wales); and MAPPs (Northern Ireland).


More than 2,000 companies operate as freight forwarders in the UK. These include local, national and international freight forwarding companies, as well as major retail companies, manufacturers, warehousing and distribution firms, and the armed forces.

There may be opportunities for experienced staff to work overseas on a temporary or permanent basis.

It is possible, with training and experience, to advance to a supervisory or management job.

Annual Income:

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

Trainee freight forwarders earn around £8,000 a year. Experienced freight forwarders earn around £15,000 a year. Senior freight forwarders earn around £20,000 a year.

Further information:

British International Freight Association (BIFA)
Education and Training Services
Redfern House
Browells Lane
TW13 7EP
Tel: 020 8844 2266

Institute of Export
Export House
Minerva Business Park
Lynch Wood
Tel: 01733 404400

Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK))
Logistics and Transport Centre
Earlstrees Court
Earlstrees Road
NN17 4AX
Tel: 01536 740100

Other Useful Freight Forwarder Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Freight Forwarders job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Freight Forwarders Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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