How to Become a

Cargo and Freight Agent

The complete career guide to be a Cargo and Freight Agent: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $44,470
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 7%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Deal Making
    Career Attribute

Cargo and freight agents play a major role in making sure products are delivered efficiently and cost-effectively. They analyze different methods of shipping goods and form proposals that enable companies to reduce shipping costs as well as expedite delivery of goods to customers and consumers.

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What is a Cargo and Freight Agent?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in cargo and freight agent roles:

  • Measure the overall costs of a company’s existing shipping methods
  • Research additional shipping opportunities, including transportation options by plane, train cargo ships, and trucks
  • Evaluate alternative shipping opportunities for cost-savings and expediting opportunities
  • Estimate costs of shipping for large orders of goods
  • Arrange deliveries to customers

A Day in the Life

They may be largely behind the scenes, but cargo and freight agents play a major role in making sure products are delivered efficiently and cost-effectively. The basic job of an agent is to analyze the different ways of transporting goods and identify the best in terms of both speed and value. After contracting transport firms, these same agents are also responsible for tracking shipments to ensure they are delivered properly and on time. In addition to arranging deliveries, they prepare the final shipping bill to ensure that the companies they work for aren’t losing profits on shipping costs.

In modern times, shipping can utilize many different modes of transport to get to an intended destination. Planes, trains, cargo ships, and overland trucks are the primary methods, but the job of a cargo and freight agent is to mix and match these methods based on the needs of their clients and find ways to reduce the overall shipping bill whenever possible. Negotiation of rates is a large part of an agent’s skill set and one of the key qualities that employers look for.

While logistical software becomes better and more advanced, it’s clear that cargo and freight agents will continue to have productive careers for years to come. Online sales is a fast-growing industry, and sellers looking to save money without sacrificing quality on shipping services will need the talents of experienced and innovative cargo and freight agents that know how to navigate the world of transport.

Typical Work Schedule

Shipping activities are conducted around the clock, all year long, so cargo and freight agents may be required to work irregular hours that include nights, weekends, and holidays. Most work full-time, but their schedules may vary greatly from employer to employer.

Typical Employers

Cargo and freight agents generally work in the transportation industry and may be employed to work for train operators, air cargo companies, water transportation companies, courier services, or freight trucking companies.

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How To Become a Cargo and Freight Agent

Experience plays a larger role than education for those interested in a cargo and freight agent career. Learning the ins and outs of the cargo industry are most frequently part of the job training, and those that excel can use the skills learned to advance their careers. Having a college degree may be preferred by some employers, but in many cases a high school diploma, proficiency with computer systems, and excellent customer service skills are more desirable qualifications than formal postsecondary education.

With many different cargo and freight options out there to evaluate, spreadsheets are certainly an agent’s friend, and learning how to master Excel or similar programs will increase efficiency dramatically. In addition to spreadsheets, a person should be comfortable working with databases and bookkeeping software as part of their day-to-day duties.

Many cargo and freight agents come directly from the military as the overlap between skills and knowledge is quite considerable. Those enlisted in the Army or Navy in logistics roles have most likely worked with cargo management, inventory control, shipping, and other concepts that have a direct corollary in the cargo and freight industry. As such, it is quite common for those working in agent positions to have a military background.

Cargo and Freight Agent Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

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High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Cargo and Freight Agent salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Cargo and Freight Agent's can make an average annual salary of $44,470, or $21 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $32,140 or $15 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #461 Nationally for All Careers

Highest Education Among Cargo and Freight Agents

  • 0%   Doctorate
  • 2.8%   Masters
  • 21.9%   Bachelors
  • 13.5%   Associates
  • 32.5%   College
  • 24.7%   High School
  • 4.5%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Cargo and Freight Agent job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 5,500 jobs for a total of 84,300 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 7% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #319 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Cargo and Freight Agents

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Freight transportation arrangement 42,000 4,200 4%
Scheduled air transportation 8,400 -300 0%
Couriers and express delivery services 5,600 -300 0%

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