Skills Shipper-receiver near Hamilton (ON)

Find out what skills you typically need to work as a shipper-receiver in Canada. These skills are applicable to all Shippers and receivers (NOC 1521).


People working in this occupation usually apply the following skill set.

  • Determine method of shipment
  • Schedule distribution of goods
  • Schedule transportation conveyances
  • Prepare bills of lading, invoices and other shipping documents
  • Assemble containers and crates
  • Inspect and verify incoming goods against invoices or other documents
  • Maintain internal record-keeping system
  • Record shortages and reject damaged goods
  • Route goods to appropriate storage areas
  • Pack goods to be shipped
  • Unpack goods received
  • Affix identifying information and shipping instructions on shipments
  • Oversee loading and unloading of goods
  • Supervise material handlers and helpers
  • Pay and receive payments for goods

Skills and knowledge

The following skills and knowledge are usually required in this occupation.

Essential skills

See how the 9 essential skills apply to this occupation.

  • Read memos from suppliers about product deliveries and shipping procedure changes. (1)
  • Read customs forms for information about customs regulations, categories and duty numbers. (1)
  • Read notes from other workers or the supervisor, setting priorities after a shift change. (1)
  • Read contracts between the shipping and trucking companies to check pricing and terms of payment. (2)
  • Refer to Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to learn whether goods coming into the plant are hazardous and how they should be handled. (3)
  • Read policy manuals to learn about shipping procedures for various companies. (3)
Document use
  • Read computer-generated labels to affix to cartons. (1)
  • Read packing slips to find out the goods' destination and to identify loose parts. (1)
  • Interpret Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) symbols and safety posters in the workplace. (1)
  • Use a receiving log to record shipments that have been received. (1)
  • Use rate charts to determine the price of shipping a specific parcel. (2)
  • Read bills of lading and order forms to obtain such information as the shipment contents, customer, transportation company, destination, reference numbers and billing instructions. (2)
  • Read shipping lists to plan the timing of materials and trucks that will enter and exit the yard. (2)
  • Read labels on cartons and verify the contents listed with invoices to ensure that they are accurate. (2)
  • Read a schedule to monitor which employees are working on various jobs and to co-ordinate unloading the trucks. (2)
  • Use a calendar to track shipments. (2)
  • Complete forms for United States Customs clearance, indicating the tariff class, weight, unit price and quantity of products. (2)
  • Write brief loading and delivery instructions to truck drivers. (1)
  • Write short reminders to themselves about tasks they must do. (1)
  • Write memos to the front office to inform staff of an incorrect shipment or bill of lading. (1)
  • Complete labels and bills of lading for shipments. (1)
  • Make entries in a book describing what is received and what is sent out each day. These entries refer to smaller customers who do not ship through trucking companies and include reference numbers, number of packages, type of product and billing instructions. (1)
  • Write short reports to carriers about damaged or missing goods. (2)
NumeracyMoney Math
  • May receive payment from customers and give the correct change when the payment is in cash. (1)
  • May approve invoices by checking the calculations for accuracy. (2)
  • May total bills including calculation of applicable discounts and taxes to prepare invoices for cash on delivery (C.O.D.) orders. (3)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • May keep track of how much money is collected by recording it in an accounting book. (1)
  • May calculate the costs of shipping by various carriers to decide who offers the best value, considering such factors as price and delivery time. (3)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • May take note of the time that a truck sits waiting to be loaded or unloaded, as this determines the charge for waiting time. (1)
  • May calculate the weight of a skid by placing each of the boxes on a scale and totaling their weight, or multiplying the weight of one box by the number of boxes. (2)
  • May calculate a shipping price using a rate chart. (2)
  • May calculate the area and volume of a parcel to inform a carrier how much space it will take. (2)
Numerical Estimation
  • May estimate how much inventory is available to fill an order. (1)
  • May estimate shipping prices for prospective clients. (2)
  • May estimate the number of goods which can be ready for shipping, taking into consideration such factors as size, availability of loading materials and resources, and other scheduling priorities. The accuracy of these estimates contributes to profitability. (3)
Oral communication
  • Listen to announcements over loudspeakers. (1)
  • Give direction to co-workers for various tasks, such as gathering goods from different departments or deploying goods on the floor. (1)
  • Interact with truck drivers to direct them to the appropriate docks and to verify that the shipment is received in good condition. (1)
  • Interact with clients and carriers in-person or over the phone. (1)
  • Listen to instructions and directions from supervisors on shipping schedules, the arrival of goods and details of waybills and orders. (1)
  • Direct customers to docks and answer their questions about orders. (1)
  • Exchange information with co-workers, managers and supervisors. (2)
  • Discuss the co-ordination of complex tasks and production schedules with co-workers. (2)
  • Instruct new employees on how to perform tasks. (2)
  • Participate in staff meetings to exchange information about policies and practices relating to areas such as material-handling and safety. (2)
ThinkingProblem Solving
  • Deal with delayed shipments or damaged goods. They discuss the details with supervisors or suppliers and fill out the appropriate forms. (1)
  • May receive the wrong product for an order. They determine the most appropriate solution, such as returning the merchandise or storing it for use in another order. (2)
  • Receive payment slips which are incorrectly filled out. They consult with co-workers for information or contact clients and carriers to clarify the payment details. (2)
  • May have to cope with the arrival of large shipments of improperly packed goods while short of staff. They determine how best to arrange for quick unloading of goods without damage, using available staff. (2)
Decision Making
  • Decide how to redirect lost packages. (1)
  • Decide how much stock to bring out of the stock room, based on the number of orders and the quantity of products in each order. (1)
  • Decide the order in which trucks load and unload when there are more trucks than available docks. (2)
  • Decide how best to transport goods, based on shipment size, client deadlines, processing delays, overall cost and payment method. (2)
  • Decide which carrier to use, based on cost, method of transport, urgency, special rates and shipment size. (2)
  • Decide whether to ship an incomplete order, taking into account the possibility of customers complaining or of losing contracts. (3)
Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.

Job Task Planning and Organizing

Shippers and receivers perform routine and repetitive tasks. While they work under the general direction of a supervisor, they make their own decisions on priorities and the order of tasks. They make adjustments for frequent interruptions and changing priorities caused by rush orders, production or shipping delays. The organization of workspace is essential to a smooth operation of the shipper-receiver function. Planning is sometimes done several weeks in advance to ensure that space will be available to place incoming products. When there are needs to refrigerate products, planning must take into account refrigeration capacity. (3)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember shipping regulations.
  • Remember which orders have priority.
  • Remember the pickup and delivery times of various shipping companies.
  • Remember how much of each product will fill a split load.
  • May remember dimensions and weights of various products in order to estimate loads.
Finding Information
  • Find purchase orders to keep track of costs and to avoid double-billing. (1)
  • Find information in office files on the transport company used for past shipments. (1)
  • Refer to manuals for information on safety and tariff codes. (1)
  • Refer to shipping company directories for information on rates and delivery areas. (2)
Digital technology
  • They may access and record shipment information. (2)
  • They may enter load weights. (2)
  • They may print orders for their own information. (2)
Additional informationOther Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Shippers and receivers mainly work independently. They may work jointly with a partner or helper or as part of a team when loading or unloading large orders.

Continuous Learning

Some shippers and receivers attend training seminars on topics relating to workplace safety, the use of new equipment, customs regulations and the handling of dangerous goods. This training may be mandatory.

Labour Market Information Survey
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