THE port recorded a strong growth of 28.5 per cent in container throughput to 7.2 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) between January and November last year, according to official statistics. The figures, released by the Port Development Board, showed that over the same period, Kwai Chung terminals had an 11.6 per cent growth to 4.6 million TEUs, mid-stream and other terminals had a 61.5 per cent growth to 2.3 million TEUs while river trade had a 361.7 per cent growth to 316,000 TEUs. Mr Tony Clark, the board's secretary, said: ''The rise reflects the continuing trend of the increased productivity in the Pearl River delta and the value of the Hongkong port to both the territory and southern China.'' The November growth figure of Kwai Chung of 29.9 per cent to 685,000 TEUs was lower than October's 31.6 per cent to 736,000 TEUs, he said, adding that it was in line with the board's cargo forecasts that the throughput would drop slightly for the last two months. Hongkong is still likely to retain its position as the world's busiest port, after it recaptured the title from Singapore in July last year when the territory's container throughput exceeded Singapore's. Mr Clark said that based on the percentage distribution of total container throughput by handling place, the mid-stream and other terminals had recorded a heavy 31.9 per cent growth compared with Kwai Chung terminal and river trade vessels growth of 63.8per cent and 4.4 per cent, respectively.