Tank Car, Truck, and Ship Loaders
53-7121.00

Load and unload chemicals and bulk solids, such as coal, sand, and grain, into or from tank cars, trucks, or ships, using material moving equipment. May perform a variety of other tasks relating to shipment of products. May gauge or sample shipping tanks and test them for leaks.

Sample of reported job titles: Load Out Person, Loader, Loader Operator, Loading Operator, Oil Movements Operator, PVC Loader (Polyvinyl Chloride Loader), Rail Car Loader, Tank Car Loader, Tankerman, Truck Loader

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • Seal outlet valves on tank cars, barges, and trucks.
  • Verify tank car, barge, or truck load numbers to ensure car placement accuracy based on written or verbal instructions.
  • Start pumps and adjust valves or cables to regulate the flow of products to vessels, using knowledge of loading procedures.
  • Check conditions and weights of vessels to ensure cleanliness and compliance with loading procedures.
  • Observe positions of cars passing loading spouts, and swing spouts into the correct positions at the appropriate times.
  • Monitor product movement to and from storage tanks, coordinating activities with other workers to ensure constant product flow.
  • Operate ship loading and unloading equipment, conveyors, hoists, and other specialized material handling equipment such as railroad tank car unloading equipment.
  • Record operating data such as products and quantities pumped, gauge readings, and operating times, manually or using computers.
  • Operate industrial trucks, tractors, loaders, and other equipment to transport materials to and from transportation vehicles and loading docks, and to store and retrieve materials in warehouses.
  • Connect ground cables to carry off static electricity when unloading tanker cars.
  • Copy and attach load specifications to loaded tanks.
  • Remove and replace tank car dome caps, or direct other workers in their removal and replacement.
  • Test samples for specific gravity, using hydrometers, or send samples to laboratories for testing.
  • Test vessels for leaks, damage, and defects, and repair or replace defective parts as necessary.
  • Unload cars containing liquids by connecting hoses to outlet plugs and pumping compressed air into cars to force liquids into storage tanks.
  • Clean interiors of tank cars or tank trucks, using mechanical spray nozzles.
  • Lower gauge rods into tanks or read meters to verify contents, temperatures, and volumes of liquid loads.
  • Operate conveyors and equipment to transfer grain or other materials from transportation vehicles.
  • Perform general warehouse activities, such as opening containers and crates, filling warehouse orders, assisting in taking inventory, and weighing and checking materials.

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Technology Skills

Hot technology
Hot Technologies are requirements most frequently included across all employer job postings.

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
  • Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 97% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 88% responded “Every day.”
  • Consequence of Error — 89% responded “Extremely serious.”
  • Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 84% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants — 86% responded “Every day.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 82% responded “More than 40 hours.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 85% responded “Every day.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 85% responded “Every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 78% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 80% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Contact With Others — 72% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 60% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Time Pressure — 64% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 62% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 65% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone — 28% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 57% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 48% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 72% responded “Every day.”
  • In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 77% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to High Places — 60% responded “Every day.”
  • Wear Specialized Protective or Safety Equipment such as Breathing Apparatus, Safety Harness, Full Protection Suits, or Radiation Protection — 55% responded “Every day.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 61% responded “Very important results.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 42% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Electronic Mail — 56% responded “Every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 46% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 65% responded “Every day.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 44% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 41% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations — 41% responded “Every day.”
  • Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 42% responded “Every day.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 39% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
  • Spend Time Standing — 41% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions — 43% responded “Every day.”
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 33% responded “Very important.”
  • Physical Proximity — 29% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running — 33% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 29% responded “Less than half the time.”
  • Letters and Memos — 40% responded “Every day.”
  • Deal With External Customers — 27% responded “Very important.”

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
Education
These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
Related Experience
Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.
Job Training
Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples
These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include orderlies, counter and rental clerks, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, tellers, and dental laboratory technicians.
SVP Range
3 months to 1 year of preparation (4.0 to < 6.0)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

Skills

  • Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

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Knowledge

  • Transportation — Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
  • Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 81%
     
    responded: High school diploma or equivalent requiredmore info
  • 12%
     
    responded: Less than high school diploma required
  • 4%
     
    responded: Post-secondary certificate required

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Rate Control — The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
  • Depth Perception — The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
  • Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
  • Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
  • Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Extent Flexibility — The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
  • Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Stamina — The ability to exert yourself physically over long periods of time without getting winded or out of breath.
  • Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without "giving out" or fatiguing.
  • Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
  • Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Gross Body Equilibrium — The ability to keep or regain your body balance or stay upright when in an unstable position.
  • Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Time Sharing — The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

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Interests

Interest code: RC
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

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Work Values

  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

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Work Styles

  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$23.75 hourly, $49,390 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2021)
13,500 employees
Projected growth (2021-2031)
Decline (-2% or lower)
Projected job openings (2021-2031)
1,700
State trends
Top industries (2021)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2021-2031 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2021-2031). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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