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Import/export manager job description

Making arrangements for import and export of goods and overseeing the delivery of goods are part of the responsibilities of an import/ export manager. Import/export managers function as intermediaries for organisations and individuals importing from or exporting to various geographical locations. An import/export manager is charged with responsibility for ensuring that goods are safely and efficiently transported, making sure that cost-effective measures are taken into account. Depending on the type of goods and the customers’ needs, import /export managers will be required to organise the best means of transport, be it by air, road, rail or ship. Transportation and client needs will also vary with the size and type of organisation with which the import/export manager is working.

Responsibilities and Duties

Import/export managers are responsible for planning transport routes and means. They are, therefore, required to research the best transportation means, routes and any special requirements in the handling and care of goods under transport. The manager ensures that goods are packaged appropriately, and he negotiates contracts for transportation and handling. It is the manager’s responsibility to obtain, prepare and check all necessary documents required to ensure that the documents meet the requirements of national customs authorities or any other regulatory body. The manager oversees the delivery of goods in accordance with customer specifications and ensures that deadlines are met. The import/export manager deals with all third parties involved in the operation as well as makes and collects payments on behalf of the customer.

Working Conditions

Import/export managers are required to work during odd hours. Some organisations (especially international freight companies) operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Import/export managers can therefore expect to be called in to work at any time. Work in this field is office-based. Offices are usually located in the vicinity of airports, ports and railways and in major towns and cities.


An import/export manager position requires a bachelor’s degree in finance, business administration, economics, business management, political science, international relations or any related field. A postgraduate qualification in any of these disciplines is an added advantage.

Desirable Skills and Personal Attributes

An import/export manager's job involves direct contact with clients, third-party service providers and colleagues. Therefore, he should have good communication skills and be able to work well within a team. Organizational, planning, good geographical knowledge and problem-solving skills are essential. The manager should be attentive to detail and be accurate in execution of any tasks. Larger companies may require knowledge of foreign languages as well as the ability to work within a multicultural setting.


The salary for an import/export manager depends on the qualifications and level of experience of the individual. However, an import/export manager with a bachelor’s degree or diploma can expect to earn between £17,550 and £19,500. With an increase in experience and higher qualifications, export/import managers can hope to earn up to £65,000 per year.

Job Outlook

It is expected that opportunities in the import and export field will grow. However, growth depends on the economic health of various industries engaged heavily in importing and exporting, such as textiles and technology industries. Opportunities are also increasing for independent import/export managers who deal with the delivery of goods without being affiliated with a specific organisation.

Related Jobs

Different titles are used for import/export manager positions. Although the titles differ, the basic responsibilities remain the same with a few alterations depending on the requirements of the particular organisation. These titles include, but are not limited to, freight manager, import/export agent, freight forwarder and import/export specialist.