Load and unload cargo onto ships.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$17,000 – $38,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Stevedores do?

A Stevedore moves cargo between ship and shore, either manually or with machinery. The cargo may be loaded into freight containers, transit sheds, or the hold of a ship, depending on the type of cargo and the type of ship, and the Stevedore is responsible for transferring it safely, efficiently, and correctly.

As shipping methods have progressed, the duties of the Stevedore have changed as well. In the early years of shipping, cargo had to be packed in loads that a man could carry on his shoulders. Today, however, loading and unloading cargo involve less human labor and more use of machines, some of which are highly technical or specialized.

As a Stevedore, you operate power winches or cranes, drive forklifts, use grain trimmers (machinery that moves bulk grain into containers), drive trucks and tractors along the dock and on the ship, and use hose lines (for liquids) to transfer cargo. Vehicles, such as tanks and farm equipment, are examples of cargo that you load and unload by driving on and off the ship. You also do manual tasks, such as securing cargo in place, tying and untying the ship’s ropes at port, using hand trucks, attaching lifting devices to winches, and directing other Dockworkers.

The use of containers—large sealed boxes that may be fitted as truck trailers and can be transported on ships—has greatly reduced the need for manual loading and unloading. It has also considerably decreased the cost of transport because containers can be moved on and off ships quickly and easily, and stacked and stored conveniently.

Should I be a Stevedore?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • Also known as: Stevedore, Dock, Stevedore, Front, Stevedore, Hold, Stevedores

    How to become a Stevedore

    Most Stevedores have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9adaac&chl=no+college+%2890%25%29|certificate+%281%25%29|associate%27s+%285%25%29|||doctorate+%284%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,90,90
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