Cargo Handler

Last Updated:
June 29, 2023

Job Description Overview

As a Cargo Handler in the Transportation industry, your main responsibility is to oversee the loading and unloading of freight from trucks, planes, ships, and trains. This crucial job requires you to have a keen eye for detail to ensure that all cargo is treated with the utmost care and arrives at its destination safely and on time. 

To become a Cargo Handler, you will need to be physically fit and have strong organizational skills. You'll also need to be able to work in a fast-paced environment and work well under pressure. 

Your duties as a Cargo Handler include weighing and labeling packages, ensuring that they are accurately identified for their destination, and ensuring that all cargo is safely secured. Additionally, you may need to operate machinery such as forklifts or pallet jacks to move heavy items.

If you're looking for a career that is both hands-on and challenging, the Cargo Handler job description could be the perfect fit for you.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Loading and unloading cargo from trucks, planes or ships.
  • Ensuring that the cargo is placed in the right location or storage area.
  • Securing the cargo with ropes or straps.
  • Keeping track of inventory levels and identifying missing items.
  • Performing routine maintenance tasks on cargo handling equipment.
  • Operating machinery like forklifts or cranes to move heavy or bulky items.
  • Following safety rules and procedures to prevent injuries or accidents.
  • Communicating with coworkers or supervisors to coordinate work tasks.
  • Maintaining a clean and organized work area.
  • Providing quality control by checking for damaged or broken goods.

Experience and Education Requirements

To get a job as a cargo handler in the transportation industry, most employers require a high school diploma or equivalent. Experience in warehousing or other related fields is also preferred. Cargo handlers should have strong communication and organizational skills as well as the ability to work in a fast-paced and physically demanding environment. Training may be provided for specific equipment or technology used in cargo handling. Additionally, cargo handlers must be able to work independently as well as a part of a team. A basic understanding of computer software and basic math skills may also be required. Overall, a combination of education and on-the-job experience is essential to become a successful cargo handler in the transportation industry.

Salary Range

Cargo Handlers in the Transportation industry are responsible for loading and unloading goods from vehicles such as ships, airplanes, and trucks. According to Glassdoor, the average salary range for Cargo Handlers in the United States is between $23,000 and $48,000 per year, with a median salary around $31,000. However, salaries can vary based on location, experience, and employer.

In other parts of the world, such as the United Kingdom and Australia, Cargo Handlers can expect to earn an average of £17,000 to £25,000 ($22,000 to $32,500) and AU$29,000 to AU$53,000 ($20,000 to $36,000) per year, respectively.

Overall, Cargo Handler salaries are typically entry-level positions and can differ based on experience and location. 


  • Glassdoor:,13.htm
  • Indeed UK:
  • Indeed AU:

Career Outlook

A cargo handler is an important part of the transportation industry as they are responsible for loading and unloading cargo from a variety of vehicles, including ships, airplanes, and trucks. The career outlook for a cargo handler is expected to stay steady over the next five years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The employment of cargo and freight agents, which includes cargo handlers, is projected to grow by 6 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. As global trade continues to grow, the demand for cargo handlers will remain high, especially in densely populated areas like ports and airports.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What does a cargo handler do?

A: A cargo handler is responsible for loading and unloading cargo from trucks, planes, and ships. They must ensure that cargo is properly secured and stored in the appropriate location.

Q: What skills do I need to become a cargo handler?

A: You will need to be physically fit and able to lift heavy objects. Good communication skills and attention to detail are also important. Basic computer skills and the ability to follow instructions are necessary.

Q: Do I need a college degree to become a cargo handler?

A: No, a college degree is not required to become a cargo handler. A high school diploma or equivalent is typically sufficient. Most employers provide on-the-job training.

Q: What are the working hours like for a cargo handler?

A: Cargo handlers typically work in shifts, around the clock. This job may require you to work early mornings, late nights, weekends or holidays. Overtime may be required during peak seasons.

Q: What kind of work environment can I expect as a cargo handler?

A: Work environments for cargo handlers vary depending on the setting. You may work in a warehouse, airport, seaport, or trucking terminal. The work can be physically demanding, often requiring you to stand for long periods of time and lift heavy objects. You may be required to work in all kinds of weather conditions.

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