Chapman Freeborn OBC: an inside look

Michael Nivelet /

It’s a significant milestone. This year, Chapman Freeborn is celebrating 50 years in the cargo charter market.

While much has changed in the industry since 1973, Chapman Freeborn has remained committed to the basics of the business while embracing technological advances and adapting its compliance practices. One of its innovations is Chapman Freeborn On Board Courier (OBC), set up in 2006 with the goal of becoming the leading provider of time-critical on board courier solutions – at any time and to any destination.

Today, Chapman Freeborn OBC offers its clients a door-to-door, 24/7, 365-day service from its headquarters in Europe and its operations centers in the US and Hong Kong. Put simply, the company embodies the meaning of ‘global coverage’.

Nikolai Bergmann, President of Chapman Freeborn OBC, says: “Our company’s position on the market is the result of our substantial financial investment in state-of-the-art transparency and technological advancements. Through our real-time updates and a proprietary app, we provide our clients with unparalleled access and convenience. Our unique international setup also required significant investment, but it has allowed us to offer truly global coverage and establish ourselves as a leader in the industry.”

Every day, Chapman Freeborn OBC delivers time-critical spare parts, samples, prototypes, and vital documents. Its clients number industry-leading brands and global suppliers from a multitude of sectors including aerospace, automotive, corporate, energy, fashion, health, and high-tech. They rely on Chapman Freeborn OBC’s network of professional on board couriers to go the extra mile when time is of the essence.

So, how does it work?

Chapman Freeborn’s on board couriers personally accompany the shipment. This means that the customs clearance procedure is quick and the cargo is available immediately at the destination.

Customers from all walks of life have direct access to the OBC team on a round-the-clock basis, with the added benefit of dealing with dedicated, highly-trained and highly-skilled brokers who handle all organizational and regulatory procedures. This includes flight bookings, entry requirements, customs regulations, and security. There are no call centers at Chapman Freeborn OBC.

The professional couriers themselves are all fully insured, experienced and trained to navigate urgent shipments, whether that’s one envelope or multiple, large packages.

Speed and efficiency are crucial. For example, let’s say that a customer makes a request at 3.30 am. In roughly 10-15 minutes, the offer has been made, is then confirmed, and the courier arrives to pick up the shipment within a few hours. Depending on flight times, the courier could be in the air by lunchtime and at the delivery location later the same day, with proof of delivery obtained by the evening. Chapman Freeborn OBC also provides ongoing status reports so clients are kept up-to-date with the progress of their precious cargo.

One real-life example relates to an international high fashion firm which produces haute couture and ready-to-wear clothes. It needed an immediate next-day air solution to transport important items from Milano to New York. The shipment included 25 oversized boxes with specific customs handling and carefully executed flight plans.

Chapman Freeborn OBC swung into action. Within minutes of receiving the enquiry, its dedicated on board courier team had devised a solution for the customer’s needs. Two on board couriers were assigned and everything went smoothly with the items reaching their destination on schedule.

Bergmann says: “Our strong reputation, built over the last 50 years, is a testament to our unwavering commitment to thorough internal compliance and risk processes. This investment has ensured a complete operation that conforms to sanctions and embargo requirements while creating value for our customers, making us the most trustworthy and reliable option on the market.”

In a nutshell, Chapman Freeborn OBC offers a service that people need, even if the circumstances in which they need it may be stressful and difficult. OBC takes the stress away from the client and ensures a smooth solution.

The Chapman Freeborn Group’s depth of aviation expertise has been honed over five decades. In 2023, it includes OBC, cargo and passenger charter operations, aircraft leasing, humanitarian airlifts, and much more.

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