Cosmopolitan and clever – embarking on a career with containers
As a shipping agent, Antonia Kaemmerer organises and manages the transport of goods by sea.
© Hapag-Lloyd

Cosmopolitan and clever – embarking on a career with containers

With twelve different training vocations on land and on the water, the container shipping company Hapag-Lloyd is the largest maritime training organisation in Germany. Antonia Kaemmerer completed her three-year training there to become a shipping agent – and found a job that fulfils her every day.

Antonia Kaemmerer (24) started her shipping agent training in August 2020 and has been living in Hamburg ever since. She originally comes from Lüneburg Heath. An interest in transport and logistics runs in her family. Her mother was previously employed in shipping and her twin sister works in wholesale and foreign trade. For Antonia, however, there were far more important reasons for embarking on this career path.

“I was particularly attracted to the international aspect,” she says. “Plus, the training is very varied and can lead to a career in either operations or distribution. Over the past years, I have gained an insight into 16 different departments.”

The shipping agent training programme at Hapag-Lloyd begins with a two-week crash course – “port training”. This includes an introduction to the individual departments and a ship tour. Besides postings in certain departments, six weeks of class at vocational college every half-year are part of the programme. Around 70 percent of the content covered there relates to shipping. Geographic knowledge is also taught – as are marketing and management principles. Bookkeeping and account balancing are likewise important topics. Apart from that, the trainees can complete a six-week placement abroad, where they get to know another completely new working environment.

Incredible team spirit

“The company makes sure that the trainees feel welcome and are offered plenty of opportunities,” notes Antonia. “If you are proactive, you can discover a huge part of the professional maritime world. There is an incredible team spirit among the trainees and throughout the company, and many are taken on after their training.” She was particularly fascinated by

operations on the container ships. For instance, by the complex breakbulk loading that she experienced during her visits on board – one of the reasons why she chose the job of Senior Coordinator Cargo Operations following her training.

Continuing on at Hapag-Lloyd after the training programme does not rule out further studies; indeed, the company encourages professional development. Following a year in her position, Antonia was able to apply for financial support to fund her bachelor studies in “Shipping Trade and Transport”. This bachelor degree will help her future career progression – especially abroad. She learned many skills during her training that are important for her current position. These include taking action with confidence, treating colleagues worldwide with openness and being flexible under pressure of time.

Language training included

Good English skills are mandatory in her profession. Her language skills were assessed at the start of her training. This was followed by half a year of lessons with a native speaker to improve her level and break down any potential inhibitions when speaking English. She had lots of contact with employees in India and the USA, in South America, Africa and in eastern Europe. An openness towards other countries and cultures is very important to her – and she can now enjoy this to the full at Hapag-Lloyd.

“Those who seize the opportunities Hapag-Lloyd offers and remain open-minded and curious, can learn a lot and gather valuable experience,” she emphasises. “And it’s really important to have fun. People who start training at Hapag-Lloyd can look forward to many enjoyable trainee events and a great time together.”

Shipping Agent

Requirements: In order to work as a shipping agent at Hapag-Lloyd, it is necessary to undergo a three-year training programme. This can be completed at Hapag-Lloyd. A school leaving certificate, university entrance qualification or Abitur is required to be able to start the vocational training. Good English and geography skills are also necessary.

Softskills: An interest in international business, a talent for organising as well as a strong capacity to communicate and work with a team are also important attributes for this professional field.

Shipping agents organise and manage freight transport by sea. They maintain regular contact with people around the world and thus get to know other countries and their cultures. Many different details need to come together to ensure smooth transport.

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