A freight and cargo inspector must be able to retain a working memory of the regulations they are supposed to enforce; solid math skills are also needed to calculate load distribution, the maximum load capacity of the vehicle in question and the weight of each individual crate. Cargo inspectors must be skilled critical thinkers who are able to apply abstract regulations to highly specific situations; they must also be highly organized and amenable to maintaining fastidious records. Prior experience in a shipping, manufacturing or merchandising occupation is helpful, but not required. Computer skills are also essential for most of these positions; applicants to freight and cargo inspecting positions should be comfortable with basic word processing and familiar with spreadsheet and database software.
Necessary mathematical skills include a strong working knowledge of geometry, trigonometry and calculus; inspectors typically keep records and make calculations on a laptop computer or other mobile device, and usually have access to a scientific calculator for more advanced calculations. Inspectors should be fluent in whatever language their organization uses for business; this is usually English, which is also the international language of aviation and maritime travel. It is also quite helpful for inspectors to speak a second language - preferably one spoken by the manual laborers under his or her direction. In many cases, this is Spanish. It is crucial that a freight and cargo inspector is able to communicate clearly with the workers who are positioning and securing the cargo in question.