Charter Brokers thrive as global cargo demand remains strong


Chapman Freeborn has over 50 years of experience in the airfreight charter market, working with clients and carriers to arrange the delivery of a range of goods: from time-critical items and heavy and outsized equipment to humanitarian goods and other types of cargo.

From automotive components and manufacturing materials to energy industry structures and life-saving aid supplies, Chapman Freeborn works to ensure that all the air cargo charters it arranges reach their destination on budget and on schedule.

As part of this, Chapman Freeborn has gone through heavy expansion globally over the past year. The company has decentralised into four regions, including the Americas, Europe, the Asia Pacific region, and India, the Middle East and Africa (IMEA).

Looking at one example, Sharon Vaz-Arab, Chapman Freeborn’s President IMEA cited the company’s ability to capitalise on opportunities in the African market.

“Globally we’re seeing a slowdown in cargo, but for Africa, we’re seeing a really high demand. This is not only on the import side, as we are also seeing a lot of cross-continent traffic,” she explained. “Where we see the opportunities within Africa, we’re going to look closely at building our offering.”

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Ripe region

The African air cargo market is in the midst of an expansion, as evolving industries drive traffic to and from the region. Chapman Freeborn has been keeping an eye on the region for some time, having traditionally handled charters for Africa that carried humanitarian aid, oil, etc.

Those verticals are being strengthened, but new opportunities have emerged in terms of perishables, for example, opening the door for Chapman Freeborn to expand its presence on the continent. The charter broker has also been able to grow its presence through its flexible approach to cargo, providing solutions to the issues facing their clients.

“Customers now come to us asking for out of the box solutions,” Vaz-Arab said. “Our core business is to fly airfreight charters from A to B but what we’ve seen is the behaviour of the consumer changing, wanting full transparency on the entire movement.”

“For example, a lot of freight is more easily connected via road, so we try to find creative solutions, flying it into our hubs and then via the road network, embracing multimodal solutions.”

“It’s about sitting with a customer and working to understand the full project, maintaining transparency, and building trust,” she added.

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Anniversary year

With the company marking its 50th anniversary this year, Chapman Freeborn is looking back at its history to see where its success came from, so it can plan another five decades of strong performance in the industry.

Particularly in Africa, the market has come a long way since Chapman Freeborn was launched, with the last five to ten years seeing dramatic investments in the region. Investments are coming into the continent, as the entire world looks to aid its development and benefit from the boom in Africa, as industries set up shop in the area.

“The African market is very geopolitically driven,” Vaz-Arab explained. “You’ve got machinery into Nigeria, agricultural produce out of Ethiopia, oil and gas projects in sub-Saharan Africa, and rebuilding across the continent.”

Since its founding, the company has thrived due to the work conducted at its existing offices but, over the next 50 years, Chapman Freeborn wants to grow its footprint in the cargo and passenger space.

“We will follow that in terms of our expansion plan as well. The demand will create the opportunity,” she concluded.