Job Title: Export Operations Agent
Type of Company: The company I work for has offices worldwide, at every major airport.
Education: BA, Psychology/Sociology
Previous Experience: I worked in shipping and in export traffic before working as a freight forwarder.
Job Tasks: I create documents to accompany outbound air freight. The process starts when a shipper calls to request a pick-up. We take down the name of the company, its location, the number of items being sent, their weight, etc. and then we call a house trucker who's dispatched to pick it up and bring it to our warehouse. Once the freight is received by the warehouse staff, they weigh, measure and examine it to make sure it is received in good order. This information is written on a control sheet which is stapled to a file folder, along with the documents attached to the freight: invoices, export declaration, truck pro (procurement routing order, a document with truck charges) and given to the export operations agent for processing. the data is entered into the computer to create an air waybill which gets the freight onto the airplane. If the freight is damaged it is refused at the door. If it is hazardous, it requires special processing by an authorized agent. Once all the house airway bills have been created, a master airway bill is printed out. This is the document that combines all of the house airway bills into one lot of freight (mostly pallets) to go onto the truck, then to the airport, and on the airplane.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: For me, the best part is talking with the consignees, the importers at the other end, overseas. They will call looking for a "Hot Shipment."
But this can also be the worst part, and sometimes they get upset if something isn't there when they expect it. I have to call the airport to track missing freight and calm them down.
Job Tips: I started out working in a large company with an export department. I learned about "Schedule B" numbers (harmony codes, commodity numbers) which are a list of all products that have an assigned "code" by the Government. You start out with small shipments, then, build your knowledge as you go along.
Additional Thoughts: Freight forwarding is an interesting job, but it can also be repetitive Still, you never know what will happen, It's interesting because you get to speak to people from all over the world. It is a difficult field to get into because all of the jobs are by the airports, so, you would have to travel. Plus, it's a job that people stay in forever.
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