Freight and Cargo Inspector  What They Do

Just the Facts


Inspects the handling, storage, and stowing of freight and cargoes.

This career is part of the Government and Public Administration cluster Governance pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Prepares and submits reports after completion of freight shipments.
  • Inspects shipments to ensure that freight is securely braced and blocked.
  • Records details about freight conditions, handling of freight, and any problems encountered.
  • Advises crews in techniques of stowing dangerous and heavy cargo.
  • Observes loading of freight to ensure that crews comply with procedures.
  • Recommends remedial procedures to correct any violations found during inspections.
  • Inspects loaded cargo, cargo lashed to decks or in storage facilities, and cargo handling devices to determine compliance with health and safety regulations and need for maintenance.
  • Measures ships' holds and depths of fuel and water in tanks, using sounding lines and tape measures.
  • Notifies workers of any special treatment required for shipments.
  • Directs crews to reload freight or to insert additional bracing or packing as necessary.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Requires getting into awkward positions
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time
  • Work at heights above 8 feet more than once a month on structures such as ladders, poles, scaffolding, and catwalks

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Cargo Surveyor --
  • Inspector --
  • Marine Cargo Surveyor --
  • Marine Surveyor --
  • Petroleum Inspector --
  • Surveyor --