Hutchison Whampoa has countered claims by New World Development Co and Sea-Land Orient Terminals that Container Terminal 9 (CT9) talks are on ice. Hutchison International Ports Holdings managing director John Meredith said yesterday there had been no round-table talks involving all the parties concerned for at least a month. He said both he and Wharf group's Modern Terminals Ltd (MTL) managing director Mark Leese had continued private talks with the Government in a bid to resolve the deadlock. Mr Meredith said an offer would be put to the other parties when a solution was found. Objections from China have deemed it unacceptable for Jardine Matheson Holdings and its associate Hongkong Land Holdings to take up stakes in two berths awarded at CT9. MTL and Hutchison Ports were awarded a berth each at CT9, which met no objections. Beijing has recommended instead that the Jardine companies be awarded berths in other terminals, in exchange for their CT9 rights. This involves doing a swap with other terminal operators, in effect either Hutchison Ports or MTL. Hutchison Ports and MTL either operate or have rights to 18 of Hong Kong's 20 container berths. Hutchison's Hongkong International Terminals (HIT) and Cosco Pacific operate the other two. Jardine Matheson and Hongkong Land are said to have about a combined 38 per cent interest in the two CT9 berths. Sea-Land, which already operates CT3, has 30 per cent and the rest is shared between New World and SHK Hong Kong Industries, sources said. It had been proposed that Jardines and its partners swap their two CT9 berths for MTL's at CT2 and Hutchison Ports' CT4. Operating the neighbouring berths CT2, CT3 and CT4 is seen as sensible. Wharf managing director Gonzaga Li Wei-jen is said to have objected to giving up CT2 and Hutchison is reluctant to give up CT4 where it has its ports headquarters. Another alternative would be to swap the two CT9 berths for two berths operated at CT8 East by HIT and Cosco. Mr Meredith said as Cosco was not involved in the original CT9 tender, it was not supposed to be entering into the equation. There is believed to be no new solution on the table and the Government is said to want a solution before the next Joint Liaison Group meeting in two months' time.