Trade Management Made Easy


Luwellen Swartz

Trade and Working Capital
Pan Africa Channel Manager, Absa CIB


How the Absa Access Trade Management Online platform became the “backbone” of Chebho Investments’ international FMCG business

It’s a cliché, but it’s true: time is money. That’s especially true for Chebho Investments, a dry grain distributor located in Durban’s Cornubia Industrial Business Estate. Its products include parboiled rice, red speckled sugar beans, samp/maize and peanuts – all sold under private labels or Chebho Investments’ own brands (including the top-selling Tri Star Foods), and all sourced from local farms or imported directly from mills across the globe.

Working at the heart of the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) space, Chebho Investments CEO Chetan Bhoola knows that every minute matters when it comes to safety, quality and delivery. When unrest rocked KwaZulu-Natal in July 2021, he knew that the business would have to move quickly to recover.

“My entire operation was decimated, reduced to ashes,” he says. “Just when it seemed there was no hope in sight, Absa rose to my rescue, providing immense support – and with it, the Absa Access Trade Management Online (TMO) platform.”

Secure, reliable, intuitive trade management

“Chebho Investments does quite a number of trade loan drawdown requests, which is a manual and very labour-intensive process,” explains Luwellen Swartz, Channel Manager at Absa CIB. “This can lead to mistakes and delays when you’re manually completing the transaction, or if the client omits something when uploading the supporting documents. We wanted to remove those pain points by providing our clients with an online trade platform that is secure, reliable and intuitive, guiding them in completing the transactions seamlessly.”

“Prior to the implementation of Absa Access TMO, my biggest challenge was having to submit multiple documents to complete a single transaction,” says Bhoola. “These documents would be manually captured, then scanned and emailed. Mistakes, due to human error, were picked up after submission and the entire process would have to be painstakingly repeated. The TMO platform immediately resolved this problem. The online system is designed to eliminate any errors, as it does not allow you to continue unless the capturing is correct.”

Trade management, simplified

With a supply chain that extends beyond Africa, Chebho Investments has business banking needs that range from foreign exchange (forex, or FX) to trade management and outward payments. The Absa Access  platform achieves all of that. “It’s a comprehensive banking solution that is perfectly moulded for my business,” says Bhoola.

“The FX Web app allows me to book spots at preferential rates, as well as forward rates, which often works in my favour,” he adds. “This allows me to remain competitive in a market that is often quite bullish. Through this app alone my business has evolved to compete at a higher level.”

Bhoola enjoys all these benefits from his office, via the Absa Access FX Desktop app. “Having this point of reference within plain sight of my desktop makes a huge difference to the art of booking the right rate,” he says. “I really do believe it’s a science, and what better way to get it right than having it on your desktop?”

The Trade Management app has, Bhoola says, become the “backbone” of Chebho Investments’ business. “I can process deals for local and international transactions with ease, and I have complete control of how I wish to set up the parameters for each transaction,” he says.

“The International Outward Payments app is equally user-friendly,” Bhoola adds. “I’ve never needed any technical support, as the system does it all. I can only imagine what goes on behind the scenes.”

The Absa Access platform aims to streamline business processes, removing tedious manual processes and barriers, and helping clients to get their business done. “Our Absa Access [TMO] does exactly that,” says Swartz. “It removes the manual complexities in which the client previously transacted, saving them valuable time to focus on other parts of their business.”

“The TMO platform saves me loads of time,” Bhoola agrees. “And when I say it is the backbone of my business, I really do mean it. I cannot explain what a massive impact the Absa Access TMO system has had on my business. It is immense. I cannot imagine operating without it.”

To find out more about the Absa Access TMO platform, and access our full suite of trade finance solutions from your mobile device or computer – anywhere, anytime.

Luwellen Swartz

Trade and Working Capital, Pan Africa Channel Manager, Absa CIB