The Baltic Exchange will be launching an Escrow Service for its members to hold deposits for ship sale transactions. The move will allow Baltic Exchange members to take advantage of the Exchange's trusted position in the marketplace when undertaking the sale or purchase of a vessel. Announcing the initiative today (25 April) at its Freight & Commodities Forum during Singapore Maritime Week, the paid-for service will be available for use in transactions where the buyer of the vessel is a Baltic Exchange member. The service is likely to be extended to disputes related payments. The Escrow Service will be run by the Baltic Exchange's Asia office in Singapore and will be subject to the Singapore Exchange's (SGX) detailed compliance and money laundering procedures. OCBC Bank will be providing the joint deposit account. Headed up by the Baltic Exchange's Head of Asia-Pacific, Chris Jones, a sale & purchase broker with over 40 years of experience, the service will initially be offered from Singapore with a view to further expansion to other Asian shipping centres. Chris Jones said: "Having the Baltic Exchange provide this service solves the problem as to where the deposit should be held in a vessel transaction. Buyer and seller alike can be certain that the Baltic Exchange will apply its high standards of compliance as well as have a full understanding of the complexities of any maritime transaction." He added: "This service will add real value to the many sale & purchase brokers who are Baltic members and are currently expected to provide this service to clients. It will allow them to undertake the highest level of due diligence and compliance checks, reduce the administrative burden of organising a client escrow account and allow them to focus on adding value to the transaction." The service will go live in May 2018 and will cost US$ 5,000 per side.