Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to all your questions

General

Do I need to buy software?
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No, it is simply a platform where buyer and seller can register and start trading. The platform charges a percentage of the value of the trade that is used to cover the escrow service and IT maintenance. Buyer and seller can determine how the costs are shared.

What is an escrow service?
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An escrow service is used in situations (such as the sale and purchase of assets) where funds need to be held by an independent and trusted third party in a secure bank account on behalf of the parties to the transaction until their contractual obligations to each other have been fulfilled.

Are there any additional (hidden) costs to the escrow service?
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The Baltic Exchange (BEA) charges a service fee for providing the escrow service for each transaction performed on the Mercurion Trade Services platform. Information on the service fee can be found at https://platform.mercuriontrade.com/calculator. There are no other fees charged by BEA besides the service fee.

Can the service also be used as a replacement for (bank) guarantees?
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Yes, the escrow service can also be used as replacement for (bank) guarantees.

What is the advantage of this service?
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It is there to offer security when settling purchases and sales of goods and does not require any dealings with banks, saving time and money.

Escrow Agent

Who provides the escrow service?
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The escrow service is provided by the Baltic Exchange (Asia) Pte Ltd (BEA).

BEA is a Singapore-registered wholly-owned subsidiary of the Baltic Exchange, which is headquartered in London and is the world’s leading source of freight market data for the trading and settlement of physical and derivative freight contracts. The Baltic Exchange is an international membership organisation made up of shipowners, shipbrokers, charterers, financial institutions and maritime professional services providers, and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK as a Benchmark Administrator.

The Baltic Exchange is wholly owned by the Singapore Exchange (SGX), a listed company which is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) as the operator of the securities and derivatives markets in Singapore.

Please refer to the following sites for further information on the Baltic Exchange and SGX:
https://www.balticexchange.com/
https://www.sgx.com/

Is my money in safe hands?
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BEA and its parent company, the Baltic Exchange, are part of the SGX Group, a listed company which is regulated by the MAS and one of the largest exchange operators in Asia.

The parentage of BEA, which combines two leading organisations in the financial services and maritime sectors, SGX and Baltic Exchange, gives users confidence that the escrow service will be executed by a professional, trusted and independent service provider.

KYC, AML and sanctions checks are performed in compliance with regulations in Singapore and secure escrow accounts are maintained with two leading AA-rated banks in Singapore: Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) and United Overseas Bank (UOB).

There are strict internal controls in place to ensure that funds are only released based on agreed parameters and by authorised approvers.

Besides the users of the Mercurion Trade Services platform, who are the other clients of the escrow service?
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The escrow service caters for a variety of the Baltic Exchange’s clients globally across different industry segments, including but not limited to the shipping and finance sectors.

Process

How long does the onboarding process take?
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BEA will endeavour to complete the onboarding process within 2 working days, subject to a complete set of supporting information being provided by the parties involved.

What does the onboarding process look like?
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Through the Mercurion Trade Services platform the buyer and seller will need to submit company details and other know-your-client (KYC) information such as the composition of each company’s board (who are the directors?) and documentation relating to the source(s) of funds for the transaction. The information will be reviewed by Operations and Compliance teams at Singapore Exchange (SGX), the Baltic Exchange’s parent company, as part of due diligence checks to ensure compliance with sanctions and anti-money laundering (AML) regulations in Singapore.

What happens in case of a dispute?
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In case of a dispute, notified via the platform, the funds could be frozen, however, if delivery has taken place at the agreed place of delivery, funds will be released.

How long does it take before I get my funds?
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When the transaction is completed and goods have been delivered, the buyer has three days to notify the seller of delivery or to object (no comma). After a maximum of three working days, the funds will be transferred to the seller. If the goods have been delivered at the agreed place of destination the funds will be released.

What happens to the funds if the goods are not received?
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The funds will be returned to the buyer.

What happens if the goods are lost in transit?
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The funds will be returned to the buyer and the insurance company will be made aware of the situation. (Assuming the cargo was insured)

What happens if the buyer claims the goods have not arrived?
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The proof of delivery will be uploaded to the platform; this document will contain the evidence that the goods have arrived. Without a proof of delivery the funds will not be released.

Can we change the shipment dates?
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Yes unlike is the case with a LoC the dates are not important, as long as the money is in escrow before the goods are shipped.

Can the commercial invoice price be changed during the agreement?
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Yes the transaction agreement can be amended, but both parties have to agree to any amendmentment by approving the changes through the platform.

Platform

Where is my transaction data stored?
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All data is encrypted at rest with AES-256 bit LUKS encryption. A backup of all storage data is created daily.

Is the solution certified?
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The platform on which the services are hosted has SOC 1 Type II, SOC 2 Type II, ISO/IEC 27001:2013 and PCI-DSS certifications.

What would happen in case of a data breach?
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All passwords are encrypted when stored, so the attacker does not have direct access to your account in the event of a data breach. In case of a data breach we will notify the Data Protection Authority (DPA) within 72 hours and take precautionary measures.

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