Career Development

What Does a Transportation Clerk Do?

Find out what a Transportation Clerk does, how to get this job, salary information, and what it takes to succeed as a Transportation Clerk.

The role of a Transportation Clerk encompasses a broad range of responsibilities aimed at supporting the smooth operation of transportation activities within an organization. This position acts as a linchpin in ensuring that logistical and administrative tasks related to the movement of goods and services are executed efficiently. By coordinating with various departments, the Transportation Clerk facilitates the timely and accurate processing of shipments, maintenance of transportation records, and compliance with relevant regulations. Their efforts contribute significantly to optimizing the flow of information and materials, thereby enhancing the overall effectiveness of the transportation function. Through diligent tracking, scheduling, and reporting, they help maintain the integrity of the supply chain, ensuring that products reach their destinations in a timely manner.

Transportation Clerk Job Duties

  • Schedule and coordinate shipments and deliveries, ensuring efficient transportation of goods to and from various locations.
  • Prepare and process transportation documents, including bills of lading, shipping orders, and freight bills, to ensure accurate tracking and billing of shipments.
  • Communicate with carriers, suppliers, and customers to resolve any issues related to shipment delays, damages, or discrepancies in orders.
  • Monitor and report on transportation costs, seeking ways to reduce expenses and improve efficiency in logistics operations.
  • Verify and maintain records on incoming and outgoing shipments, ensuring all documentation is accurate and complete for compliance and audit purposes.
  • Coordinate with warehouse staff to ensure proper loading and unloading of freight, adhering to safety and handling protocols.
  • Utilize transportation management systems (TMS) and other software to plan routes, track shipments, and analyze transportation data for reporting purposes.
  • Perform inventory control duties, including conducting physical counts and reconciling with data storage systems to manage stock levels and prevent discrepancies.

Transportation Clerk Salary & Outlook

Factors affecting a Transportation Clerk’s salary include years of experience, specific industry knowledge (e.g., logistics, warehousing), technical skills (e.g., proficiency in transportation management software), and the complexity of tasks handled (e.g., international shipping regulations). Employer size and the economic sector (public vs. private) also significantly influence compensation.

  • Median Annual Salary: $39,900 ($19.18/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $87,300 ($41.97/hour)

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

This growth is driven by increasing global trade and e-commerce, requiring more coordination of goods transportation. Transportation Clerks are essential for scheduling shipments, tracking inventory, and ensuring efficient delivery, making their role critical in the logistics and supply chain sectors.

Transportation Clerk Job Requirements

Education: A Transportation Clerk typically holds a high school diploma, with a significant portion having pursued some college courses. Ideal educational backgrounds include classes in logistics, business administration, or communication. While a specific major is not mandatory, coursework that enhances organizational, technological, and customer service skills can be beneficial. Advanced education, though not required, may offer competitive advantages and opportunities for career advancement within the transportation and logistics industry.

Experience: Transportation clerks often enter the field with no prior experience, learning the ropes through on-the-job training. Employers typically seek individuals who are quick learners and can adapt to the dynamic nature of transportation logistics. Training programs may be offered to familiarize new hires with industry-specific software, documentation procedures, and customer service protocols. Experience in clerical work, attention to detail, and the ability to multitask are advantageous, enhancing one’s capability to efficiently manage transportation schedules, records, and communications.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications and licenses are not typically required for the job of a Transportation Clerk.

Transportation Clerk Skills

Freight Billing: A Transportation Clerk is responsible for the meticulous processing of invoices and the accurate allocation of costs to shipments. This role involves ensuring all freight charges are accounted for and resolving disputes swiftly. A keen eye for detail and a solid understanding of contractual agreements and tariff structures are necessary to avoid billing errors and uphold the financial integrity of the logistics chain.

Customs Documentation: Handling the preparation, processing, and submission of necessary documents for the export or import of goods is critical for smooth international shipments and adherence to global trade regulations. Transportation clerks must remain informed about changing customs regulations and accurately classify goods to avoid delays and potential penalties during the customs clearance process.

Shipment Tracking: Monitoring the progress of goods from their origin to their destination is a key responsibility. Transportation clerks provide timely updates and accurate information to customers and internal teams. Proficiency in using tracking systems to proactively identify and resolve potential delays or issues in the shipping process is required.

Carrier Coordination: Managing relationships with shipping carriers and logistics providers ensures the timely and cost-effective delivery of goods. This task involves negotiating contracts, tracking shipments, and resolving transportation issues, all while complying with relevant regulations and standards.

Inventory Management: Keeping track of and organizing goods as they move through the supply chain helps prevent inventory loss and maintain accurate stock levels. Forecasting demand to optimize storage space and logistics planning is part of this responsibility, requiring a detailed-oriented approach.

Transportation Scheduling: Coordinating the movement of goods and personnel involves planning and executing transport routes and schedules. By leveraging this skill, transportation clerks can optimize delivery times, reduce costs, and ensure regulatory compliance, highlighting its importance in logistics and supply chain management.

Transportation Clerk Work Environment

A Transportation Clerk typically operates within a bustling office environment, closely integrated with warehouse or dock operations depending on the company’s structure. The workspace is often equipped with standard office tools and specialized logistics software, ensuring efficient tracking and scheduling of shipments. Regular office hours are the norm, though some flexibility may be required to address unexpected shipping queries or issues outside of typical business hours.

Dress codes can vary, leaning towards business casual or company-provided uniforms when interacting with drivers and warehouse staff. The role demands a high level of interaction, not only with internal teams but also with external partners like drivers and customers, making communication skills vital. Despite the fast-paced nature of the work, involving constant deadlines, the environment fosters teamwork and support among colleagues.

Health and safety protocols are strictly adhered to, especially when the clerk’s duties extend into the warehouse. Noise levels can fluctuate, particularly in proximity to loading docks. Technology plays a central role, with ongoing training provided to keep skills sharp and up to date, reflecting the company’s commitment to efficiency and employee development.

Advancement Prospects

Transportation Clerks can advance to supervisory roles, overseeing teams and managing logistics operations. With experience, they may transition into logistics coordinators or managers, focusing on optimizing transportation routes and costs. Specializing in areas such as freight auditing, customs, or compliance can lead to niche roles with higher responsibility and pay.

Progressing further, a Transportation Clerk could aim for positions like Logistics Manager or Director of Transportation, requiring a deep understanding of supply chain management and strategic planning. Success in these roles often depends on demonstrated ability to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and lead teams effectively.

To achieve these advancements, gaining hands-on experience in various transportation and logistics functions is crucial. Building a track record of successful projects and improvements in transportation processes can also pave the way for higher-level opportunities.


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