No matter what the economy is doing at any given time, goods must be transported to consumers. Connecting shippers with responsible and authorized motor carriers is the main task of the freight broker. Although these people rarely see or touch any of the freight, they are responsible for arranging for the transportation of goods across the country.
The job of freight broker has no set minimum educational requirement. Brokerage firms and trucking companies typically offer training courses for people interested in a career as a freight broker. One example is the freight broker school offered by England Logistics located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Many entry-level freight brokers start for a company with no working experience and receive on-the-job training. Some freight brokerages operate their business out of their home and never interact physically with either the shipper or carriers they connect. Typically, freight brokers have at least a high school diploma or GED and most choose to attend some type of initial formal training before trying to work as an independent brokerage.
Freight brokers need to be organized and problem solvers, with strong people skills and the ability to manage their time and resources effectively. These professionals have to be able to multitask and keep track of several shipments for numerous clients. Freight agents and brokers also need strong computer and communication skills.
Licensing and Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration oversees the operation and administration of freight brokers in the United States. In order to operate a brokerage service, an individual or company must file an application with the FMCSA for an operating authority. This gives the broker the legal right to conduct business in the transportation industry. In addition, the agency needs to establish a surety bond or trust and assign a processing agent. The regulations are subject to change, so contact the FMCSA or the Department of Transportation in your state for the current requirements.
Freight brokers contact shippers and arrange for authorized third-party motor carriers to transport freight from pickup to delivery, or to other transfer locations. Freight brokers conduct most of their business over the phone or Internet and rarely, if ever, come into physical contact with the products they arrange for shipment.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median hourly wage for freight brokers during the reporting period of May 2008 as $17.92. The top 10 percent of freight agents earned an hourly wage of more than $27.70 while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.65 per hour.
- Photo Credit loaded trucks image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com
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