Career Development

What Does a Longshoreman Do?

Find out what a longshoreman does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a longshoreman.

Longshoremen are responsible for loading and unloading cargo from ships at ports. They use a variety of equipment, including cranes, forklifts, and other machines, to move cargo between vessels and onto land.

Longshoremen may also be responsible for inspecting cargo as it arrives at the port to ensure that it is in good condition and ready to be handled by their company. This includes checking for signs of damage or contamination so that any problems can be addressed before they reach customers.

Longshoreman Job Duties

Longshoremen have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Moving cargo from one location to another using forklifts or other machinery
  • Inspecting cargo and equipment for damage, defects, or errors in labeling
  • Observing ship movements to ensure that they are operating safely
  • Signaling crane operators to indicate where loads should be placed
  • Communicating with other longshoremen to coordinate work tasks
  • Lifting heavy cargo with cranes or forklifts
  • Loading and unloading cargo from ships, railcars, trucks, or warehouses
  • Working with ship crews to ensure that cargo is properly stowed on board or offloaded from vessels
  • Coordinating with other workers to load and unload ships efficiently

Longshoreman Salary & Outlook

Longshoremen salaries vary depending on their level of experience, the company size and geographic location. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of overtime.

  • Median Annual Salary: $51,500 ($24.76/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of longshoremen is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

The need to replace workers who leave the occupation will help to maintain employment levels for longshoremen over the next decade. However, automation and technological improvements are expected to reduce the demand for longshoremen. In addition, increased use of intermodal transportation, in which cargo is shipped via multiple types of transportation, may limit the demand for longshoremen.

Longshoreman Job Requirements

There are a number of qualifications required to become a longshoreman, which may include:

Education: Longshoremen need at least a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some employers prefer candidates who have completed some college or trade school courses. Longshoremen who are interested in advancing their careers may pursue an Associate’s Degree in Logistics or a related field.

Training & Experience: Longshoremen receive on-the-job training from experienced longshoremen or other personnel. This training helps the new longshoreman learn the specific techniques and procedures for their role. Longshoremen may also receive training in safety procedures and equipment use.

Certifications & Licenses: Longshoremen need to obtain a U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Credential in order to work on commercial vessels. This credential proves that they have the knowledge and experience needed to operate complex navigational equipment and manage emergencies while at sea.

Longshoreman Skills

Longshoremen need the following skills in order to be successful:

Physical stamina: Longshoremen work outdoors and often in extreme weather conditions. They may be on their feet for long periods of time and lift heavy cargo. Physical stamina is important for longshoremen to complete their work efficiently.

Communication skills: Communication skills are essential for longshoremen, as they often work in teams and must be able to clearly convey information to their coworkers. They also need to be able to read and interpret shipping documents and other paperwork. Additionally, they often need to be able to explain complex processes to people who aren’t familiar with the industry.

Attention to detail: When working with machinery, handling cargo or performing other tasks, it’s important to pay close attention to the task at hand. Longshoremen need to be able to notice any potential safety hazards, damage to equipment or other issues that could affect the quality of their work. Attention to detail can also help you complete tasks efficiently and correctly.

Ability to lift heavy objects: Longshoremen may be required to lift and move heavy cargo, so it’s important for them to have the physical strength to do so. They may also need to move cargo from one location to another, so it’s important for them to have the ability to lift and carry heavy objects.

Knowledge of shipping and handling methods: Longshoremen need to understand the shipping and handling methods of the products they work with. This includes knowing how to read shipping labels, how to identify the proper shipping containers and how to handle and move different types of products. This knowledge can help longshoremen complete their duties more efficiently and safely.

Longshoreman Work Environment

Longshoremen work on docks and wharves, handling and moving cargo. They are exposed to a variety of weather conditions, including extreme heat and cold, and they may work in cramped and uncomfortable positions. Longshoremen may be required to work long hours, including weekends and holidays. They may also be called to work on short notice, sometimes with little or no advance notice. Overtime work is common, and long hours are often required to meet deadlines. Longshoremen are also exposed to a variety of health and safety hazards, including injuries from lifting heavy objects and exposure to dangerous chemicals.

Longshoreman Trends

Here are three trends influencing how longshoremen work. Longshoremen will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Growth of Automation

The growth of automation is a trend that is quickly changing the workforce as we know it. As robots and other forms of automation become more common, longshoremen will need to learn how to work with these machines in order to remain competitive.

This trend means that longshoremen will need to be able to operate complex machinery and understand how it works. They will also need to be able to work with teams of robots in order to get the job done efficiently.

More Focus on Green Initiatives

As the world becomes increasingly concerned about the environment, there has been an increased focus on green initiatives. This has led to an increased demand for longshoremen who are knowledgeable about environmentally-friendly shipping methods.

Longshoremen can capitalize on this trend by becoming experts in green shipping methods. This includes understanding the latest technologies and practices that can help reduce the environmental impact of shipping. In addition, longshoremen can also promote the use of green products in their workplace.

Greater Demand for Intermodal Shipping

As the economy continues to grow, the demand for intermodal shipping is increasing. This means that businesses are looking for ways to move goods across different modes of transportation, such as trucks, trains, and ships.

Longshoremen are in a unique position to take advantage of this trend, as they have experience working with all three types of transportation. By learning how to ship goods across different modes, longshoremen can become more valuable to businesses and potentially earn higher salaries.

How to Become a Longshoreman

Longshoremen have a unique career path. They start out as longshoremen helpers, then move up the ranks to become longshoremen, and eventually reach the top of their profession as chief longshoremen. Along the way, they gain experience in all aspects of the shipping industry, from loading and unloading cargo to managing the flow of goods between ships and land.

Longshoremen also have the opportunity to specialize in certain areas of the shipping industry. Some longshoremen work exclusively on container ships, while others specialize in handling bulk cargo such as coal or grain.

Advancement Prospects

There are many opportunities for advancement in the field of longshoreman. One of the best ways to advance is to get more experience. The more experience you have, the more likely you are to be promoted to a higher position. Another way to advance is to get more education. The more education you have, the more qualified you are for a higher position. There are also many opportunities for advancement if you are a good worker. If you are a good worker, you may be promoted to a higher position.

Longshoreman Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we’re looking for a Longshoreman to join our team. As a Longshoreman, you will be responsible for the loading and unloading of cargo from ships. You will use a variety of equipment to move the cargo, including cranes, winches, and dollies. You will also be responsible for securing the cargo for transport.

The ideal candidate for this position will have experience working with cargo and shipping. You must be able to lift heavy objects and be comfortable working in all weather conditions. You must also be able to work long hours, as the shipping schedule can be unpredictable.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Unload and load cargo from ships using various types of equipment
  • Operate cranes, conveyor belts, and other machinery to move cargo
  • Inspect cargo for damage and report any issues to the proper authorities
  • Secure cargo for transport using ropes, chains, and other materials
  • Drive trucks or other vehicles to transport cargo to and from the docks
  • Keep track of all incoming and outgoing cargo
  • Maintain a clean and safe work environment
  • Follow all safety regulations
  • Assist in the maintenance of equipment
  • Complete necessary paperwork
  • Work long hours, including nights and weekends
  • Physical labor is required

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Ability to pass a background check and drug test
  • Ability to lift 50+ pounds
  • Ability to work long hours, including weekends and holidays
  • Willingness to work in all weather conditions
  • Strong attention to detail

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Experience working on a dock or in shipping/receiving
  • Forklift certification
  • CPR/First Aid certification
  • OSHA 10-hour certification


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