Import-Export Clerk

Job Description:

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

Job Category:
Transport & Logistics

What you will do:

In your day-to-day duties you could:

  • manage freight bookings using a computer system
  • check that tax and customs documents are correct
  • work 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 and deal with problems or delays


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of transport methods, costs and benefits
  • knowledge of geography
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • administration skills
  • customer service skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become an Import-Export Clerk, you don’t typically need specific subjects, but having a well-rounded education and certain skills can be beneficial for this role. Import-Export Clerks are responsible for facilitating the movement of goods and ensuring compliance with international trade regulations. Here are some general subjects and steps to consider if you want to pursue a career in this field:

  1. English: Strong written and verbal communication skills are crucial, as you’ll be dealing with documentation, contracts, and correspondence with international partners.
  2. Mathematics: Basic math skills are essential for tasks such as calculating shipping costs, taxes, and pricing.
  3. Business Studies: This subject can provide you with a foundational understanding of business principles, trade practices, and financial concepts.
  4. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Proficiency in using computer software, databases, and spreadsheets is important for managing shipping and trade-related data.
  5. Foreign Languages: Depending on your specific role and the regions you work with, knowledge of foreign languages can be a valuable asset for communication with international clients and partners.
  6. Geography: Understanding global geography and trade routes can be helpful for understanding the logistics of international shipping.
  7. Economics: Courses in economics can provide insights into international trade, supply and demand, and market dynamics.
  8. History: Knowledge of historical trade agreements and international relations can be beneficial for understanding trade policies and regulations.

Post School

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.

Employers accept most subjects but you might 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 an industry placement or a summer internship could help you to get relevant skills and might be useful when you apply for jobs.


You could do an international freight forwarding advanced apprenticeship.

It will take a year and 6 months to complete as a mix of learning on the job and study.


You could start as an admin 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.

Other Routes

You could do an introductory course in logistics, transport or international trade.

Career tips

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

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 37-39 hours of work. You could be required to work between 9am and 5pm.

You could work in a warehouse or in an office.

Career Path & Progression:

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