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Details for Tank Car, Truck, and Ship Loaders


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.


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


  • 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.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • Building and Construction - Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Transportation - Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
  • 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.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.


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