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Mainfreight Australia

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Shalini Fernando

6:30 AM - Wake up

I like to start my day nice and early, once I’ve snoozed my alarm at least twice.

The first order of business is breakfast, everyone knows a good day starts with Vegemite on toast and a shower! 07:30 arrives and I’m out the door!

8:00 AM - Emails

Every day presents different challenges, but the one constant is emails. As soon as I’m logged on I’m sorting through my inbox. Being an International FCL Export Operator, I liaise with our overseas offices every day, so it’s important I’m in early to catch that vital hour when the US office is still online, and I can action anything urgent that’s come through overnight. Being in early also provides the opportunity to conference call so we can iron out any issues swiftly before they head home.

9:00 AM - Coffee

I love my team, but I think Frankie might be the most loved person/machine in the office. He is the MVP dolling out fresh coffee every morning, keeping the team going. One of my daily rituals is to round up the gang at 9 am for our (first of many) appointments with Frankie.

9:15 AM – First catch up

The Export team catches up twice a day. Our morning meeting starts with a yarn about anything interesting that happened the previous night, after the import stuff is out the way we discuss how our workload is looking for the day. We all look after different trade lanes so the volumes we handle vary. By debriefing early we have the opportunity to ask our team for help if we may need it. For example, today Mandy (our LCL Operator) is sick, so we’re delegating her work amongst the team.

Catch up meeting

10:00 AM – Bookings

My team is responsible for arranging the export of freight for our clients. The process starts with us booking space with the shipping line once we’ve been advised of the destination and requirement. Today one of my clients has asked me to move hazardous containers from Melbourne to South Africa and arrange warehousing, so I’m heading upstairs to chat with the sales team to figure out the best possible supply chain solution! 

11:00 AM – Export declaration

As a freight forwarder, we are required to report to Australian Customs what freight is being shipped from Australia. When clients provide us with the Commercial invoice they declare to us (and Customs) the transaction that has occurred between themselves and the receiver. Based on this information we must lodge a Customs entry. This can be a complex process as we need to ensure all items are classified correctly to guarantee we are providing Customs with the correct information. This usually involves liaising with the brokerage team to correctly identify goods. Through this process, we can also identify if any additional documentation that is required for the particular commodity, quarantine permits, fumigation certificates or Certificate of Origin.

12:00 PM – Brokers catch up

I’m currently in the process of completing the course to become a licensed Customs Broker. During the week I touch base with the brokerage team who help me with any queries I might be having about the study material. I’m only in my first year (of three) so it’s great having a group of experienced brokers four pods away so I can pick their brains at any time! I have an assignment due this week so I’m having my mentor Louise look over the draft of my assignment to make sure I’m on track.

1:00 PM- Lunch

Our branch has an onsite kitchen which offers subsidised meals, today Chef Darren has prepared my favourite lunch chicken parma with what we have declared as the best fat chips in the world! We all gather in the lunchroom and fill each other in on our weekend plans. 

The grads catch up outside of work regularly, this weekend we’re all going to the footy. Today we’re sussing out numbers and trying to find a place all 15 of us want to eat for a pregame meal, you’d think being in logistics we’d make light work of it, apparently not…

2:00 PM - Team catch up

Somehow, it’s already 2 pm and time for our second team catch up. We’ve just found out one of the departures for Jenny’s vessel bound for New Zealand has come forward by 24hrs. This might not sound significant, but she’s just lost a whole day for loadings, so we’re all jumping in to give her a hand and make sure all bookings are rearranged to ensure all freight will make it to the port before the updated cut off.

3:00 PM - Final documents

Throughout the course of the day my clients send me documentation which needs to be reported to various parties, this can range from Australian Customs, Port authority, cartage carrier, destination office, shipping line or the final consignee. This means the later part of my day is spent processing the documentation, verifying all data and crosschecking to ensure all parties have the information required to complete their part in the intricate supply chain.

4:00 PM- Snacks

Darren always puts out a delicious spread of goodies to get us through the last hour of the week.

All the teams come down and have chat over some nibbles and welcome in the weekend.

4:30 PM - PRA

Before any container is run into the terminal we are required to submit a PRA (Pre-Receival Advice) which allows the container to be received into the terminal. For this to be complete our customer must provide a VGM declaration (Verified Gross Mass) once their container is loaded. This process is extremely time sensitive because once the container leaves the customers premises we have approximately one hour to make sure our PRA is accepted. As many containers are loaded on Friday and can be run in over the weekend, I must ensure all PRAs are completed by Friday afternoon.

End of day

The final part of my day is making sure that all loadings and run-ins to the terminal have gone ahead smoothly. I finish up by providing all manifests to the shipping lines, so they are aware of what containers we will be sent to the terminal over the weekend. Once I’ve checked off all shipments it’s time to head back to the snacks table for one last piece of brie before I head off.