“Businesses that have failed to perform on contracts on time, or fails to fulfil any international trade contract can apply to the council for a certificate,” it said on its website.

The move is to safeguard the rights and interests of companies based in China as well as to help businesses reduce losses, it said.

To minimize human contact amid the viral outbreak, businesses can apply for the certificate through an online platform. They can also do so via the QQ messaging app or the telephone.

Businesses will need to submit evidence of delays or cancellations in sea, air or land transportation as well as export cargo sales contracts or agreements.

Paul Lim in Singapore contributed to this report.