Freight brokers don’t use their own trucks, ships, airplanes or railroads to move goods around the globe. Instead, they use other organizations’ equipment, whether rail car, truck, ship or plane, to move goods that they don’t own from one place to another. These independent transportation arrangers are paid to put together transportation arrangements, take care of the paperwork and keep the flow of goods moving.
The median wage for freight brokers was $37,150 in May 2010. Wages range from less than $23,340 annually, or $11.22 per hour, to more than $59,960 annually, or $28.83 per hour. The average pay nationwide, as of May 2011 is $19.56 per hour, or an annual average wage of $40,680.
Freight brokers advise their clients about transporting cargo from the location where it’s picked up to a destination determined by the client. Depending on the broker's license, the cargo may move by air freight, ocean freight, truck or rail. The broker will provide the client with the costs, keep the client aware of the shipment’s status, attend to the paperwork attendant on the shipment, keep records of the shipment and, if necessary, trace a missing shipment.
Training is largely on-the-job, as the budding broker takes on more complicated tasks in a warehouse, or even working directly with a broker. Because so much of the transportation field relies on computers, the broker may need to take training in the use of specific software packages. More formal training in logistics is available at community and four-year colleges and certification is available from various professional organizations, including the American Society for Transportation and Logistics, which offers certification programs in Transportation and Logistics, and Global Logistics, as well as a professional certification in Logistics and Supply Chain Management.
In May 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that opportunities for freight brokers will grow by 29 percent in the decade leading to 2020. This is faster than the 14 percent growth projected for other jobs in the same period.