THE Marine Department has urged the partners negotiating over Container Terminal 9 to reach an agreement on berthing arrangements in Kwai Chung and on Stonecutters Island as early as possible. The parties involved are terminal operators Hong Kong International Terminals and Modern Terminals, and the newly formed Jardine Matheson-led Tsing Yi Consortium. Marine deputy director Tsui Shung-yiu said port facilities would be able to meet demands up to 1998 as the Government and private sectors were putting together a number of measures enhancing productivity at the terminals as well as mid-stream and river operations. Mr Tsui said Hong Kong handled an estimated 12 million 20 ft equivalent units (teus) last year. This was based on the 10.41 million teu figure recorded by the port between January and October, representing a 13.6 per cent rise against the same period in 1994. 'The figures underline the need for the further development of Hong Kong container facilities and also our capabilities to meet current demand,' Mr Tsui said. Kwai Chung and Stonecutters Island terminal operators handled 6.89 million teus, a 14.1 per cent rise, while mid-stream container operators handled 2.43 million teus, a rise of 2.8 per cent. River trader operators recorded a 43.4 per cent rise to 1.08 million teus. While the port here continues to grow, this year will see several hundred thousand dollars' worth of container transshipment business moving away from Kwai Chung to Shanghai where more shipping lines are making direct port calls. Port facilities in Shanghai was expected to grow more rapidly this year boosted by higher production from industries in the Pudong area, according to shipping executives.