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Egypt: Surviving in unsettled times

Nov 21, 2013
Sherif Gabriel, 24, is the Marketing and Operations Executive at Intermove Egypt in Cairo. Established in 1991, the company is owned by his father, Wassim Gabriel, 52. Sherif spoke enthusiastically to us about his love for the industry, the company’s heritage, the removals trade in Egypt and Intermove Egypt’s plans for the future.





In 1991, Wassim Gabriel founded Intermove Egypt after working for another removals company. After learning the trade, he left to set up his own firm. At first, operations were run out of his small apartment in downtown Cairo. He had to hire trucks and storage space, and managed with a small pool of staff. Operating without any business partners he gradually built up a steady trade in domestic and international cargo.  This would eventually lead to winning contracts from foreign embassies, government offices, diplomats, multinational firms and large factories.

 

Intermove Egypt has enjoyed huge growth in the last 22 years. Nowadays, it conducts its business from a 900 m2 headquarters just outside Cairo with an additional 900 m2 warehouse for storage having recently been built.  Sherif explained that 95% of Intermove Egypt’s business is now through international channels. His father now employs 55 permanent staff with extra packers recruited during busier periods. “Most of our international cargo goes to the Gulf region, the largest proportion of which ships to Dubai or Abu Dhabi,” said Sherif. “We also send cargo to the USA and the UK on a regular basis.”

 

Sherif never planned to work for his father but he is more than happy to admit that deciding to work for the family business was a hugely positive life decision. “I double majored at university in Marketing and International Business at Middlesex University in England,” said Sherif. “I am very interested in high performance cars, and it was my ambition to work in the advertising departments for a world leader, like GM or Audi.”  However during university breaks he worked at Intermove Egypt and as he got to learn the ropes he found out that he actually loved the work.  To this day, he enjoys everything about the trade, especially the marketing aspects. Sherif is rightly proud of his heritage and his father’s achievements - building Intermove Egypt up from its humble origins into one of the country’s leading removals firms. He fully intends to carry the company forward when his father eventually retires and he hopes future generations of the Gabriel family will do the same.

 

When asked to comment on how the recent unrest in Egypt affected the company, Sherif was philosophical. “When President Morsi was unseated, we were left without a leader for a time and much was in disarray. Companies were scared. People were leaving. Whole factories were packing down – massive machines needed to be shipped out.”  As predicted, times of civil unrest make for busy and profitable times in the removals trade. As the situation in Egypt is now reaching a form of equilibrium and the economy is showing good signs of recovery, companies and foreign government officials are beginning to return. So Intermove Egypt has seen good business in both times of trouble and recovery.

 

Sherif is positive about Intermove Egypt’s future. He mentioned that the company is a member of EUROMOVERS, The Asian Relocations Association, The International Association of Movers and that it is currently in the process of applying for FIDI membership.  He also points out that Intermove Egypt is ISO 9001 accredited.

 

Intermove Egypt is planning to be around for decades to come. Recently engaged Sherif has high hopes for continuing the family business long into the future. His enthusiasm for the trade is infectious so The Mover Magazine is left in no doubt that he’ll achieve his aims.

 

“If Egypt is enjoying a steady economy then people are moving in. In a shaky period, people are on the move again. In our trade this equals a win-win situation.”

 Photos: Top - The Intermove Egypt team.  Bottom - Sherif Gabriel

 

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