Trade coordinators work for logistics and transportation service firms as intermediaries for merchants, shippers and U.S. Customs officers. These professionals require a thorough knowledge of domestic and international shipping laws, as well as previous experience in the import and export business. Knowledge of a second or third language is also helpful, since trade coordinators must work with companies in other countries. Candidates should also be organized, detail-oriented and possess strong communications skills.


Trade coordinators are responsible for processing the paperwork necessary for merchants to legally export and import products and goods across country borders. They communicate closely with customs personnel, and respond to questions during the import and export process. Trade coordinators’ duties include updating and recording import and export documents, and ensuring that trade admissions and withdrawals are processed in a timely matter.


Although there are no formal educational requirements for trade coordinators, employers prefer that candidates possess a bachelor's degree. Disciplines that help one prepare for a trade coordinator career include logistics, accounting, international trade or business administration. Students can take classes in areas including mobility management, financial accounting, economics, supply chain management and sales. Some trade coordinators choose to obtain licensure as a U.S. Customs broker.


The average salary for trade coordinators was $44,000, according to a May 2011 report. Salaries for trade coordinators also differed across geographic regions. For example, trade coordinators working in California reported an average salary of $47,000 per year. In New York, trade coordinators averaged an annual wage of $52,000. Trade coordinators in Texas reported an average salary of $43,000 per year.


With adequate experience and customs broker licensure, trade coordinators can assume supervisory and managerial positions. For example, trade compliance officers direct import and export activities in their organizations. They develop and implement programs that ensure clients comply with relevant regulations and customs requirements. Their duties also include writing and updating documentation on trade procedures and processes regarding imports and imports. The average salary for trade compliance officers was $81,000, according to a July 2011 report.

Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the cargo and freight industry are projected to increase 24 percent through 2018. As the economy expands, trade coordinators will be needed to help manage the growing number of shipments entering and exiting U.S. ports. Employers will also seek candidates to replace workers leaving the industry or transitioning to other jobs. However, employment may fluctuate depending on overall economic activity.