A stevedore is a person who loads and unloads freight and cargo to and from ships. They must be able to safely and efficiently operate cranes, forklifts, and hand-trucks to convey cargo to and from ships. Stevedores are also responsible for ensuring that cargo is properly segregated, so that shipments tagged as rush deliveries are given proper priority.
Being a stevedore requires a worker to be very physically fit, as many persons in this field will find it necessary to be able to lift and carry up to 100 pounds. Stevedores will also use automated equipment, such as cranes and forklifts, to assist in the job of offloading or onboarding freight. This equipment typically requires no license or certification, but most dock and cargo employers will train stevedores to use this gear properly and safely.
Working as a stevedore can be challenging. Most ports and shipping authorities hire by the day for this job, using expected freight traffic to determine the number of stevedores and dock workers brought on for any given shift. Stevedores are also usually unionized. Thus, anyone interested in this career should familiarize themselves with procedures for union dues and the rights accorded to unionized workers. Most stevedores work shift work on loading docks and shipping piers, during the daytime, evening, and even overnight. Most employers do not have any educational requirements for stevedores, although some require at least a high school diploma. Many employers do require relevant experience.