Overseas Shipping Manager jobs(Also known as Outbound shipping manager, Freight manager, Export clerk (non-managerial))
An overseas shipping manager is responsible for organising collection of a company’s freight from its domestic location (usually a warehouse), and then delivery on to the end customer or end user via international freight methods. Companies who wish to export goods to other countries require staff who are skilled specifically in this branch of order fulfilment. Shipping overseas can bring many challenges in terms of logistics, order tracking, paperwork, administration and local government bureaucracy. The shipping manager is responsible for making sure the whole delivery process runs smoothly. A significant challenge for companies who ship outside the EU is the differing legislative requirements which various governments impose upon their goods-importing and excise operations. It is imperative that goods entering a country carry the appropriate paperwork (Certificate of Conformity, or CofC), domestic tax invoice, shipping information and carriage terms (an international contract between the seller and the buyer). The shipping manager is ultimately responsible for this process running effectively, as a refused international load can cost tens of thousands of pounds to recover and re-process, all because a CofC, a single sheet of A4 paper, has not been attached to the pallet. In large organisations, a team of shipping clerks usually report to a shipping manager, but in SMEs (Small-Medium Enterprises), the shipping manager will usually have a more hands-on role in terms of day-to-day fulfilment operations. It can be a very demanding role, where the candidate will be dashing from office to warehouse to view export pallets before they ship, and managers often have to spend significant periods of the year overseas, either at a customer’s site, or in the office in a foreign country.
SalaryThe precursor to a shipping manager role is as sales co-ordinator. This role is part admin and part project management with a core focus on customer relationships and order fulfilment. Most shipping managers begin in this internal sales capacity, and the salary ranges from £16,000 (UK, Midlands) to £30,000 (3 years experience, London area). There are also attractive bonuses offered on top of the basic salary. Once the progression to shipping manager has been made, the candidate can expect to receive a salary of £35,000 to £65,000. Top performers are very much in-demand and well-remunerated, as an investment in a skilled and committed shipping manager can save a company vast sums of money per year in refused loads and unnecessary customs bills.
- Agree international shipping terms and contract wording with the client.
- Ensure goods are shipped in line with obligations to the sales contract.
- Specify a suitable means of transport (“air, sea or over-land”) and administer fulfilment.
- Ensure export paperwork is in place before the collection takes place.
- Make special arrangements for “other end” collection, such as when handling hazardous materials or large vehicles.
- Manage the complete international order fulfilment process from collection to delivery.
- Manage internal sales staff and customs clerk teams (where appropriate).
- Liaise with accounts departments to overcome billing obstacles preventing customs clearance.
- Provide financial reporting and shipping statistics to upper management.
QualificationsStrictly, there are no academic qualifications which are required to be a shipping manager, although a qualification in the industry-standard INCOTERMS (International Commercial Terms) universal doctrine is demonstration of a manager’s ongoing commitment to career progression within the industry. This can be achieved with a short course (usually 6 months), although some specialisations exist which require further study. INCOTERMS is acknowledged worldwide as the “international shipper’s bible”, which lays down legislative clarification on ambiguous terms, for example, “Free On Board” or “Free Alongside Ship”, which may result in complications between the seller and the buyer.
- Must have an energetic approach, as the job requires time spent in the warehouse and at various sites (both domestic and international).
- Must be a strong communicator, with the ability to motivate sales and shipping teams.
- Must have a solid grasp of international shipping requirements and non-EU customs law.
- Candidate should have a strong ability to multi-task, and to manage concurrent projects.
- A creative approach to problem-solving is required, as is the ability to handle heavy pressure.