Elie Duval, director of AGS Ukraine, talked to LDaily about the specifics of the market of international transportations, the place of Ukraine at it and about working peculiarities in our country.
LDaily: Be so kind to tell us about the AGS Ukraine. What is the activity of the company and how long has the company been in the market?
E. Duval: AGS is a French company which has started in 1974 with providing its services in France and its oversea territories (West Indies). In 2018 the group is present in 94 countries with a network of 141 branches: we are covering Europe, Africa, Asia and also the West Indies, Caribbean and the Middle East. We have been in Ukraine since 1997. Last year we have celebrated the twentieth anniversary in the country.
We do removal services. This is when someone moves from one country to another bringing with them some items like sofas, beds, furniture, clothes. We go to people’s place and our professional packers pack it all very carefully. Then we send them by different mode of transport to the country of destination and we arrange the delivery. It can be from Ukraine to the USA or Africa, China or any place in the world. We provide door to door services. We also provide storage services for personal items, storage for archives/documents and relocation services.
LDaily: What place does Ukrainian business division occupy among the divisions of the other countries and what is the global AGS structure?
E. Duval: As I said we are present in 94 countries with 141 branches. Ukraine is part of the European network. We are also very proud to be the first company which is covering the entire African continent, there is no other company presenting in all counties in Africa.
LDaily: What about AGS Ukraine?
E. Duval: It is rather a small/middle branch. Our company also covers Moldova and Belarus, so Ukraine is central office for these countries.
The head office and biggest branch is in Paris. There are also big branches in Belgium, Germany and UK, Africa and Asia.
LDaily: What do clients get when they work with AGS Ukraine?
E. Duval: AGS strives to deliver the best services to our customer with a key focus on the following: Security, communication, reliability, reactivity, courtesy, availability.
No matter where in the world people are moving, AGS ensures the same level of certified quality service. Choosing our company is moving with peace-of-mind.
LDaily: What is the specifics of the transportation business?
E. Duval: In Ukraine we do not have our own fleet of trucks, so we work with transport companies which are specialized in the road transportation. We have strict requirements and we make sure that the companies we work with adhere to the same standards and service levels. When we organize a transport from Ukraine to another country in Europe or from abroad to Europe, we have to prepare some documents which enable the truck to go through the customs, borders and countries. This is the same when it comes to air and sea transportation.
LDaily: What is the different between the Ukrainian market and the markets of the other countries?
E. Duval: The business we are doing in every country is the same: we are moving people all around the world. Of course, in every country there are some specificities. For instance, now Ukraine is not part of the European Union, so we have borders. Every shipment for export and import goes through customs clearance, which is not a case when you move from France to Italy or from Spain to Portugal. There we do not have to deal with customs authorities while in Ukraine we have to complete the customs formalities.
LDaily: How does the AGS Group benefit from the Ukrainian market?
E. Duval: The activity in the country is important for us. I have been here for 3 years. When we look back before 2014 the activity was much more, because we are working a lot with expatriates. They come to the country, stay there for 3-5 years in average and then they go to another country. The past years we have seen the number of expatriates in international companies decreasing, so automatically our business decreases in the same proportion. But now we have noticed that we have a lot of Ukrainian people going abroad to Ireland, Europe and Northern America, especially those who are specializing in the IT sphere.
We have very good IT schooling in Ukraine and we also work for big companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon.
LDaily: Do you work with the pieces of art, antique and jewelry?
E. Duval: As part of our business we can deal with it from time to time. If you want to move as a privatepersonand you have some paintings, piano or old furniture, in this case we deal with it. But Ukraine has some specificities about the legislation and documents. Some cultural items and especially antique furniture, music instrument, old paintings need a special authorization to be exported. We also cooperate with the Minister of Culture proceeding with the cultural expertise.
LDaily: Does the company belong to a particular industry association?
E. Duval: Yes, the Group AGS is part of some important worldwide moving associations which control the quality and standards of work. We are cooperating with the French Institute in case of moving expatriates. As the French company we are also part of the French Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIFU).
LDaily: Does it help your business in Ukraine?
E. Duval: Of course, because this business association gathers together all the French and Ukrainian companies. We have many opportunities to meet every year and we can share our experience, exchange about the economic situation of the country, meet new people and new comers or simply discuss about any topics. In addition to this many of these companies are our clients.
LDaily: How do you work with the government and its entities?
E. Duval: Since the company was established we have to deal with the local authorities. We follow the Ukrainian legislation and rules and everything is going fine. As an international company we work strictly as per the rules.
LDaily: In what international events is the company involved?
E. Duval: In recognition of our role as a market leader and our dedication to reducing our carbon footprint, AGS Groupe partnered with Planète Urgences Environment and Development programme in 2010. Key goals are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect bio-diversity and the promotion of socio-economic development; and are supported by projects in the following regions:
At a national level, in Ukraine, we are proud to participate to some events like the Charity Bazaar which takes place every year in November. This is a major event which enable to collect funds and finance some charity programs over Ukraine. We also take part in the French national day, Bastille day on July 14th, organized by the French Embassy in Kiev.
LDaily: What is your own opinion where is the social responsibility?
Every company needs and has to be socially responsible and aware.
The AGS Group is a proud member of the United Nations Global Compact and adheres to its core principles: promoting human rights, fair labour standards, environmental conservation and supporting the fight against corruption. For instance, we have one very nice initiative which is to plant one tree for every move we do.
Every time someone is moving from one country to another we plant a tree in Madagascar or in Indonesia. We can say that over 200,000 trees have been planted by AGS in the past years.