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What Does a Longshoreman Do?

What Does a Longshoreman Do?

By Megainterview Team

A longshoreman, also known as a dockworker, is responsible for loading and unloading cargo ships at ports and terminals. They play a crucial role in the transportation of goods by sea and are responsible for handling a wide range of cargo, including containers, vehicles, and various types of freight.

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In this article, we will take a closer look at the duties and responsibilities of a longshoreman, as well as the skills and qualifications that are necessary to succeed in this role.

Longshoreman Duties and Responsibilities

The duties and responsibilities of a longshoreman may include the following:

  • Loading and unloading cargo from ships using cranes, forklifts, and other heavy machinery.
  • Operating machinery and equipment, such as cranes and forklifts, to move cargo from ships to shore or vice versa.
  • Sorting and organizing cargo for storage or transport.
  • Inspecting and maintaining equipment, such as cranes and forklifts, to ensure that it is in good working condition.
  • Maintaining accurate records of cargo and shipments.
  • Adhering to safety guidelines and procedures to prevent accidents and injuries.
  • Performing routine maintenance tasks, such as cleaning and lubricating equipment.
  • Providing assistance to other members of the dockworkers team, as needed.

It is important for a longshoreman to be physically fit and able to lift heavy objects, as well as have good hand-eye coordination and the ability to operate machinery safely and efficiently. They must also be able to work well in a team environment and follow instructions from supervisors.

Longshoreman Requirements

The specific job requirements for a longshoreman may vary depending on the employer and location, but in general, the following qualifications may be required:

  • Education: High school diploma or equivalent is typically required for this position.
  • Training: On-the-job training is typically provided by the employer. Longshoreman workers are trained in safety practices, cargo handling, and operating equipment. This training can last for several months and is usually provided by the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) or the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), depending on the location.
  • Experience: Some previous experience in manual labor or cargo handling is preferred but not always required.
  • Certifications and licenses: Longshoremen are typically required to be certified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and to have a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card, which is issued by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). They may also be required to have a valid driver’s license and forklift certification.

A Longshoreman is responsible for loading and unloading cargo from ships, trucks, and railcars. They may be responsible for operating cranes, forklifts, and other heavy equipment and for securing cargo using ropes, chains, and other equipment.

They should have excellent communication skills, strong attention to detail, and be able to work well under pressure.

Additionally, they should be able to work well with others, be reliable, and be able to follow instructions from management.

Longshoreman Skills

Some of the required job skills for a longshoreman position may include the following:

  • Physical strength and endurance: A longshoreman must be able to lift heavy objects, perform physical labor, and stand for long periods of time.
  • Attention to detail: A longshoreman must be able to accurately sort and organize cargo and maintain accurate records of shipments.
  • Machine operation skills: A longshoreman may be required to operate heavy machinery, such as cranes and forklifts, to load and unload cargo from ships.
  • Problem-solving skills: A longshoreman may encounter challenges or issues that require them to think on their feet and find solutions.
  • Teamwork skills: A longshoreman must be able to work well with others in a team environment and follow instructions from supervisors.
  • Communication skills: A longshoreman must be able to effectively communicate with other members of the dockworkers team and with supervisors.
  • Time management skills: A longshoreman must be able to manage their time effectively and prioritize tasks in a fast-paced environment.
  • Basic computer skills: A longshoreman may be required to use a computer or other electronic equipment as part of their job duties, so basic computer skills are helpful.

Related: Time management interview questions and answers

Longshoreman Salary

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for cargo and freight agents, which includes longshoremen, is $44,260. The BLS also reports that the top 10% of cargo and freight agents earned more than $71,630 per year. It is worth noting that these figures do not include benefits or additional compensation, such as overtime pay or bonuses.

The job outlook for longshoremen is likely to be positive, as the demand for workers in the transportation and logistics industry is expected to remain steady in the coming years. The BLS projects employment of cargo and freight agents to grow 7% from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

It is worth noting that the job market for longshoremen may be competitive, and advancement opportunities may be limited. However, with hard work and dedication, it is possible for a longshoreman to move up within the company and take on roles with more responsibility and potentially higher pay.

Longshoreman Work Environment

The work environment for a longshoreman may vary depending on the location and specific employer, but in general, longshoremen work outdoors at ports and terminals, where they load and unload cargo from ships. The work can be physically demanding and may involve working in a variety of weather conditions, such as heat, cold, rain, or wind.

Longshoremen typically work in a team environment and may be required to communicate with other members of the dockworkers team as well as with supervisors. They may also be required to work flexible hours, including nights, weekends, and holidays, as shipping schedules may vary.

It is important for a longshoreman to follow safety guidelines and procedures to prevent accidents and injuries, as the work can be physically demanding and involves the use of heavy machinery. They must also be able to work well under pressure in a fast-paced environment and be able to handle multiple tasks simultaneously.

Longshoreman Trends

It is likely that the demand for workers in the transportation and logistics industry will continue to be strong in the coming years, as global trade and the movement of goods by sea are expected to remain important economic drivers.

In addition, there may be a greater emphasis on maintaining a clean and safe work environment at ports and terminals. This may include tasks such as sanitizing equipment and public areas, restocking hand sanitizer, and other personal protective equipment.

It is also possible that technology may play a greater role in the duties of a longshoreman in the future. For example, they may be required to use electronic devices or software to track shipments, communicate with other members of the dockworkers team, or assist with online bookings or reservations.

How to Become a Longshoreman

o become a longshoreman, you will need to meet the basic qualifications for the position, which may include having a high school diploma or equivalent and being able to read, write, and understand English. You will also need to be physically fit and able to lift heavy objects, have good hand-eye coordination and have the ability to operate machinery safely and efficiently.

To apply for a longshoreman position, you can contact the hiring department of a shipping or logistics company and inquire about job openings. You can also visit the website of a union that represents longshoremen, such as the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), and search for job openings in your area.

During the hiring process, you may be required to complete an application, participate in an interview, and pass a background check and drug test. You may also need to complete some form of training or certification before you can begin working as a longshoreman.

Once hired, you will likely receive on-the-job training to help you learn the specific duties and responsibilities of a longshoreman. It is important to be a reliable and punctual employee and to have a strong work ethic and positive attitude in order to succeed in this role.

Longshoreman Advancement Prospects

There may be advancement prospects for a longshoreman who demonstrates a strong work ethic, good customer service skills, and a willingness to learn and take on additional responsibilities. With hard work and dedication, it is possible for a longshoreman to move up within the company and take on roles with more responsibility and potentially higher pay.

Some possible advancement opportunities for a longshoreman may include:

  • Lead longshoreman: A lead longshoreman is responsible for supervising a team of longshoremen and ensuring that they are meeting the company’s shipping and cargo handling standards.
  • Foreman: A foreman is responsible for overseeing the work of longshoremen and other dockworkers and may be responsible for scheduling, training, and evaluating employees.
  • Supervisor: A supervisor is responsible for managing the operations of a shipping or logistics company, including overseeing the work of longshoremen and other employees.
  • Manager: A manager is responsible for the overall operation of a shipping or logistics company, including budgeting, planning, and strategy development.

It is worth noting that advancement opportunities may vary depending on the company and the individual’s level of experience and qualifications. It is also possible that advancement may require additional education or training.

Longshoreman Job Description Example

Here is an example job description for a longshoreman position:

We are seeking a reliable and hardworking individual to join our team as a longshoreman. The successful candidate will be responsible for loading and unloading cargo from ships using cranes, forklifts, and other heavy machinery, and for ensuring that the cargo is sorted and organized for storage or transport.

Duties and responsibilities:

  • Loading and unloading cargo from ships using cranes, forklifts, and other heavy machinery.
  • Operating machinery and equipment, such as cranes and forklifts, to move cargo from ships to shore or vice versa.
  • Sorting and organizing cargo for storage or transport.
  • Inspecting and maintaining equipment, such as cranes and forklifts, to ensure that it is in good working condition.
  • Maintaining accurate records of cargo and shipments.
  • Adhering to safety guidelines and procedures to prevent accidents and injuries.
  • Providing assistance to other members of the dockworkers team, as needed.

Qualifications:

  • High school diploma or equivalent.
  • Ability to read, write, and understand English.
  • Ability to lift heavy objects and perform physical labor.
  • Valid driver’s license and good driving record, if operating heavy machinery such as a forklift or truck.
  • Ability to pass a background check and drug test.
  • Ability to work in a team environment and follow instructions from supervisors.
  • Availability to work flexible hours, including nights, weekends, and holidays.
  • Previous experience in a related field, such as shipping or logistics, is preferred but not required.

If you are reliable, hardworking, and have a strong attention to detail, we encourage you to apply for this exciting opportunity to join our team as a longshoreman.

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