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Ocean Import Manager - Freight Forwarding

Job ID req12964
Address 1501 N. Mittel Blvd., Suite A, Wood Dale, IL, United States, 60191

The Ocean Import Manager will be the primary accountable party for quality execution, oversight, and overall direction of activities related to ocean import transportation services for the Chicago Global Forwarding branch of C.H. Robinson. This individual will spend the majority of his or her time coaching, planning, leading, and directing the performance of the Ocean Import product’s operational business units.  They will be responsible for coaching key management and supervisory roles within the department, planning and directing the growth and maturity of the Chicago GF Ocean Import product and associated services, and building strong working relationships with key clients as well as C.H. Robinson’s internal commercial and operations management teams.

This position will be ultimately responsible for the department’s multi-million dollar P&L, and will report directly to the Chicago GF Operations Manager.

The manager candidate must possess excellent organization, leadership, talent development, customer service, and relationship-building skills in order to be successful in this very demanding position.



  • Manage the overall Ocean Import product for C.H. Robinson’s largest, most-diversified global forwarding office – Chicago Global Forwarding
  • 7 Direct reports
    • 1 OI Manager of Finance
    • 6 operations supervisors
  • Indirect Line - 65 operations employees (senior global forwarding agents (GFA), GFA I-III, and global forwarding coordinators)
  • Serve as the escalation for task completion, troubleshooting, issue resolution, and solution design for key customer portfolio
  • Take ownership over operations, innovative solution design, and trusted advisor philosophy when working internally and externally
  • Responsible for managing operations for over 4,000 files monthly, a dedicated LCL team,  a PO Management product, business optimization initiatives for focused onboarding, training,  and  process improvement, and a drayage procurement strategy that works in tandem with the corporate initiative across North America 


  • Promote a culture and working environment that embraces growth and development to meet the needs of our employees and customers, resulting in high employee engagement and overall customer satisfaction
  • Instill professionalism, ensure adherence to policy and procedures, and encourage consistency of process
  • Identify development opportunities, provide constructive feedback, and offer continuous training opportunities for direct line reports
  • Play major role in recruitment, onboarding, and continuous development of best in class Ocean Import talent
  • Provide individualized coaching plans for direct reports and host quarterly Talent (performance) reviews
  • Maintain a multi-band development program within the team with clearly defined requirements for advancement from one level of Global Forwarding Agent to another
  • Set the example for others to follow regarding knowledge development and execution quality
  • Educate employees to have deeper discussions with clients regarding current market conditions and other current events impacting the trade community


  • Present quarterly town halls to department to share industry news, department changes, and process updates
  • Contribute to semi-monthly internal product update publications
  • Create  client advisories on relevant trade, market, and regulatory updates
  • Provide guidance to employees on how to respond to challenging customer scenarios and complex government inquiries


  • Establish and maintain monthly balanced scorecard of product performance
    • Financial indicators, customer service and relationship management, internal business process KPI, and learning & development tracking
  • Participate in pricing and process negotiations
  • Collaborate with branch leadership teams to deliver effective problem resolution and process improvement
  • Set quantitative, qualitative, and personalized objectives for managers, supervisors, and operational personnel
  • Design, control, and maintain the playbook for successful service delivery of ocean import operations
    • Manager, Analyst, Supervisor, senior and global forwarding agents, and global forwarding coordinator positions

Customer Service

  • Uphold our customer SLA (service level agreements) to provide ocean import clients with the utmost satisfaction
  • Serve as a role model in developing relationships with ocean import clients, origin counterparts, and destination partners critical to the success of our clients’ transportation and supply chain systems
  • Provide importers with timely and accurate communication
  • Utilize tools to confirm effective process execution and timely, accurate invoicing for services rendered
  • Support the facilitation of quarterly business intelligence updates for importers along with relevant stories impacting their import programs
  • Mentor employees to deliver quality execution and customer service and provide change management regarding changing policies, expectations, and procedures
  • Conduct business reviews and support sales efforts, as needed by the Ocean Import product leader
  • Troubleshoot and design solutions for challenging and key customer scenarios


  • Maintain product’s master pricing and account assignment libraries
  • Assign and ensure proper setup for new business onboarding into Ocean Import operations process
  • Mitigate operating expenses by actively managing resources against activity forecasts
  • Utilize operational and financial tools to monitor tasks, set priorities, and measure performance
  • Quickly and effectively resolve issues with steamship lines, ports/CFS, brokers, carriers, etc
  • Monitor and maintain control over accounts receivable/account payable
  • Manage and revise best practice SOP materials and review  semi-annually
  • Confirm that department leadership have the tools, time, and support they need to successfully provide committed services for their customers
  • Identify opportunities to utilize business process optimization team to deliver continuous improvement that strengthen the customer relationship and improve efficiency and/or quality within the team
  • Perform scheduling for operational and on-call business needs
  • Responsible for quality performance against recordkeeping, database, and importer instruction standards


  • Bachelor's Degree  (preferred)
  • 5+ years of recent Ocean Import experience with ability to demonstrate firm understanding of all functions related to importing into the US via ocean, rail, and truck; domestic delivery (required)
  • 5+ years of management experience (including P&L responsibility) working in transportation or trade services industry (required)
    • Demonstrate strong operations management performance
    • Share people leadership experiences
    • Strong understanding of financial statements and key performance metrics – ready to demonstrate year over year improvements made
    • Track record of building strong customer relationships
    • Provide examples of steps taken to improve business process or solution design for clients in previous experience
  • Proven flexibility & adaptability to product and customer needs
  • Time management and organizational skills
  • High emotional intelligence, situational leadership, and coaching techniques
  • Excellent written & verbal communication skills
  • Ability to present internal and external trainings, host town hall meetings, lead business reviews and product sales efforts in front of large audiences
  • Travel (10-15%) as needed for projects, sales support, business reviews, and trade conferences


We are proud to offer a top-tier benefits package, including medical, dental, vision, life and disability insurance, prescription drug coverage, paid parental leave, paid holidays and paid time off (PTO), 401K with company match, employee stock purchase plan, as well as a broad range of career development opportunities.

About C.H. Robinson

At C.H. Robinson, we believe in accelerating global trade to drive the world’s economy. Using the strengths of our people, processes and technology, we help our customers work smarter, not harder. As one of the world’s largest third-party logistics providers (3PL), we provide a broad portfolio of logistics services, fresh produce sourcing and Managed Services through our global network. In addition, the company, our Foundation and our employees contribute annually to a variety of organizations. Headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, C.H. Robinson (CHRW) is publicly traded on the NASDAQ. For more information, visit or view our company video.

Equal Opportunity Employer

C.H. Robinson - Affirmative Action Employer/EOE/M/F/Disabled/Veteran