A national treasure

Used to dealing with obstacles caused by unpredictable demand since COVID and the challenging topography of Algeria’s capital city, new FIDI Affiliate AGS Algeria is setting its sights on developing its national offer to complement its international business

In Algeria, the moving market is divided into three main segments, says AGS Algeria’s Branch Manager, Alexandre de Beauregard. ‘Diplomats stationed in Algeria; private sector employees with a work permit and a foreign resident card; and Algerian citizens who are moving abroad to work or who want to return, having lived elsewhere.’

Across these, the company carries out an average of 150 import or export moves a year.

Established in 2005, AGS is the only international removals company operating in the country. The mainstay of its work involves the seaside capital city, Algiers, where 7.5 million inhabitants and most of the country’s foreign residents live. The business is located in the heart of Algiers, close to the port, airport, and homes.

Algiers is built on rocks and steep cliffs. The circulation of heavy goods vehicles and containers is prohibited during the day and is impossible in residential areas.

‘All collections and deliveries, whatever the volume, are carried out with small vehicles, the volume of which does not exceed 20m3,’ says De Beauregard. ‘The streets are narrow, with a lot of traffic, and there are few parking spaces, which adds to the challenge.’

The pandemic caused a large-scale departure of expats from Algeria, and – despite government restrictions on the movement of people – AGS Algeria was able to continue its work.

Opportunities for growth

‘The significant number of departures of the past three years has caused an imbalance between import and export,’ says De Beauregard. ‘We are going through a period of calm in international removals, so, to overcome this, we are very active in the national moving market for individuals and businesses.’

In 2021, the company carried out a relocation for the factory of a global beverage manufacturer. ‘We also moved the offices and stock of a global logistics provider from the city centre to the suburbs,’ says De Beauregard.

The company has also launched value-added furniture, fixtures and equipment services to hotels, and art transportation services.

De Beauregard says AGS Algeria’s company values reflect those of the overall group: ‘resilience, recognition, heritage, stability, ambition and humility’. Being a part of the worldwide group also gives it added strength and support.

The company’s 16 staff are bilingual in French and Arabic – many also speak English – and have experience in household goods and office moves, giving the firm broad skills, De Beauregard adds.

‘In the field and in the office, our team use their skills to best assist our clients in the administrative processes,’ he says. ‘Our move coordinators, for example, provide the most personalised service possible, especially when it comes to navigating Algerian customs, which can be challenging for expats settling in the country.

‘We are focused on finding bespoke solutions according to the needs and constraints of each family or company using our services.’ The firm prides itself on having clearly defined processes for customers and local suppliers.

De Beauregard says the firm’s decision to become a FIDI Affiliate was taken before COVID, with the aim of being ‘recognised as a quality player in Algeria’.

It aims to offer the same quality of work as the AGS businesses operating in 96 other countries around the world. This also made the FAIM audit process more straightforward to complete.

‘Being a subsidiary of the AGS network, we are used to complying with the group’s internal quality standards,’ says De Beauregard. ‘The FAIM certification process allowed us to align our local way of working with the international standards required by FIDI.’

The business now wants to leverage its FIDI certification to obtain International Through Government Bill of Lading (ITGBL) accreditation with the US Embassy in Algeria, with which it is in discussions.‘We also want to continue to develop the national removals market to cushion the decline in international removals – and, with the Algerian authorities, facilitate the import customs clearance process, which remains complicated for foreign residents in Algeria.’

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