A longshoreman is a laborer who works on docks. He loads and unloads freight from ships that come into port. A wide variety of items are shipped on cargo ships that travel throughout the world. These items include automobiles, electronics, oil, and grain products. A longshoreman is responsible for removing the cargo from a docked ship. The cargo is then usually loaded onto a truck or train. Cranes and other moving equipment are often used to move and secure items.
The work of a longshoreman is physically demanding. It can involve moving heavy containers, shoveling and securing items via the use of chains or rope. The work is done outdoors in all types of weather. Cargo ships run 24 hours per day, so working irregular hours is common. Some of the largest ports are in New York, New Jersey and Baltimore.
A longshoreman usually starts out as a temporary worker. This is done in an attempt to secure permanent employment with a shipping company. It can take years before a longshoreman is offered a permanent position. These positions usually pay very well because they are physically demanding. Longshoremen who have permanent positions are usually offered health insurance, vacation and sick leave.
The work of a longshoreman is usually learned on the job. Longshoremen must be physically strong and able to work long, irregular hours. A move up in seniority entails greater job responsibility. Learning how to operate cranes and other moving equipment will help someone advance in this career. Longshoremen typically join unions and pay membership dues.