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Import-export clerk

Alternative titles for this job include Shipping agent, freight forwarder, import-export agent

Import-export clerks ship goods to and from the UK by road, rail, air and sea.

Average salary (a year)

£18,000 Starter


£30,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 a week

You could work

9am to 5pm

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become an import-export clerk

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • specialist courses run by professional bodies


You could do a degree before applying to join an organisation's management training scheme. Most subjects are accepted but you may have an advantage if you study:

  • transport and distribution management
  • logistics and supply chain management
  • business and management
  • foreign languages with business studies

Choosing a degree with a year's industry placement or a summer internship could help you to get relevant skills and may be useful when you apply for jobs.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More Information


You could do an international freight forwarding advanced apprenticeship.

It will take you about 18 months to complete as a mix of learning on the job and study.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More Information


You could start as an office assistant in a freight forwarding or logistics department and work your way up through training and promotion.

You'll find it useful to have office experience and computer skills.

You're likely to need 4 or 5 GCSEs at grade 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths. Some employers may prefer you to have A levels or higher education qualifications.

Other Routes

You could take an introductory course, like the ones offered by The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport and the Institute of Export and International Trade.

More Information

Career tips

You'll find it useful to speak a foreign language if the company operates internationally.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming an import-export clerk from The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of transport methods, costs and benefits
  • knowledge of geography
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • customer service skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • administration skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In your day-to-day duties you could:

  • manage freight bookings using a computer system
  • check that order, tax and customs documents are correct
  • work closely with national and international suppliers and agents
  • arrange freight deliveries and collections between ports, airports and warehouses
  • handle invoices and payments
  • keep clients up to date with progress
  • deal with any problems or delays

Working environment

You could work in a warehouse or in an office.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

You could become an import-export manager, a specialist in international trade law, or an overseas account manager.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Freight Forwarder

  • Wage: £11,000.00 Annually
  • Location: Christchurch

International Trade Freight Forwarders Apprentice

  • Wage: £136.50 Weekly
  • Location: Birmingham

Courses In England


  • Start date: 24 January 2022
  • Location: Romford

L3 Warehousing and Logistics

  • Start date: 06 September 2022
  • Location: Telford

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