HONG KONG Air Cargo Terminals (Hactl) has recorded marginal throughput growth in January because of a slowdown in the United States economy. The company said last night overall throughput increased 2.8 per cent to 100,179 tonnes when compared with January last year, as a slide in exports and transshipments was balanced by rising imports. Exports in the month fell 6.9 per cent to 44,402 tonnes and transshipments were down 4.1 per cent to 11,503 tonnes. Import throughput during the month rose by 17.4 per cent to 44,274 tonnes. 'These figures reflect a recent trend which commenced last October and indicate a slowdown in the American economy,' the company said. 'However, Hactl has no reason at this stage to believe that this will be but a temporary phenomenon and will not affect its plans for [the new airport at] Chek Lap Kok.' Managing director Anthony Charter said: 'The recent signing of a $6.62 billion loan to pay for the new super terminal 1 complex at Chek Lap Kok will ensure that Hong Kong continues to maintain its hard-won position as the most efficient cargo handling centre in the world.' Mr Charter said the monthly mishandling record was positive, as just three out of 186,695 consignments were reported mishandled. 'We have made tremendous investment in automated cargo handling systems specifically designed to reduce consignment mishandling to a minimum,' Mr Charter said. 'We are confident that this expertise will stand us in good stead when we move to the super terminal 1 complex at Chek Lap Kok in mid-1998.'