Freight managers, also known as logistics managers, oversee the transportation of goods from suppliers to distributors. Some freight managers manage cargo shipments that are transported on the ground using trucks. Others oversee air and ocean freight shipments. As a freight manager, you must have strong organizational skills, effective people skills and the ability to manage logistics to ensure your shipping methods are safe, efficient and reliable.
Freight managers coordinate shipping logistics with exporters, transportation crews, warehousing companies and retailers. Qualified candidates should have experience with computer software programs that let you report shipping data such as departure and arrival times, transportation methods, the type and amount of freight, and shipping costs. Freight managers work on tight deadlines, so speed, reliability and accuracy are top priorities. Logistics managers often negotiate contracts with suppliers to ensure costs for transportation, loading, unloading and storage stay within company budgets. Strong communication skills and the ability to troubleshoot shipping issues, such as missing cargo, late arrivals and mechanical problems with transportation vehicles, are part of the job.
Logistics managers ensure that all shipping, storage and distribution procedures meet company policies and government regulations. For example, you must make sure cargo doesn't exceed weight limits and hazardous materials are properly contained. You must also research new rules and regulations and consult port authorities, airlines, highway departments and customs agencies to ensure you're in compliance with freight and shipping guidelines. Freight managers often host company meetings and training seminars to educate employees. They must also prepare financial and administrative reports to share with upper management.
Education Never Hurts
Many freight managers have a degree in business, logistics management or a related field. According to 2011 data from O*Net Online, 74 percent of logistics managers had a bachelor's degree and 9 percent had a master's degree. Some logistics managers obtain Certification in Transportation and Logistics (CTL) through the American Society of Transportation and Logistics. You must pass a series of exams that prove your mastery of complex logistics management principles and supply chain knowledge to get a CTL.
Entry-level salaries for logistics managers ranged from $36,000 a year to more than $60,000, depending on applicants' educational backgrounds, specific requirements of the position and geographic location, according to 2014 data from the University of North Texas. In 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the mean annual wage for all transportation, storage and distribution managers, not just those at the entry level, was $91,200 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $49,370 a year, while the top 10 percent earned more than $142,540.