Jardine Matheson Holdings' role in the development of Hong Kong's controversial container terminals CT8 and CT9 has been reduced significantly in a bid to gain China's approval for the project. Details of a hard-won deal that led to a breakthrough in the impasse over CT9 emerged yesterday, involving Jardine pulling out of CT9 completely and taking a back seat in CT8, sources said. It is hoped the new deal will be approved by the Joint Liaison Group (JLG) which started a three-day meeting in Beijing yesterday, with CT9 at the top of its agenda. Jardine originally led the Tsing Yi consortium consisting of Hongkong Land Holdings, New World Development Co, SHK Hong Kong Industries and Sea-Land Orient Terminals, which was to build CT9. Mainland authorities objected strongly to Jardine's involvement in the project, and a series of negotiations to resolve the stand-off stalled repeatedly. Sources said the new agreement disbanded the Jardine-led consortium and replaced it with a consortium to be called Asia Container Terminals (ACT). The new consortium had the same shareholders as its forerunner but replaced Jardine with the more politically acceptable Sea-Land as leader, sources said. 'While the consortium members are still the same, the shareholdings have changed with Sea-Land having a majority stake and Jardine's stake close behind,' the source said. The new consortium will have no involvement in CT9, spelling the end of Jardine's ambitions to take part in the new terminal. CT9 will be built by Modern Terminals (MTL), which is responsible for three of the berths, while Hongkong International Terminals (HIT) will retain its right to the fourth. A fifth berth will be added to CT9 for coastal vessels and barges, which will be shared by HIT and MTL. In exchange, ACT will take over MTL's two berths at CT8 West, which started operations in March last year. The new plan has yet to be approved by the JLG, but analysts and Marine Department representatives close to the negotiations said they were confident approval would be forthcoming. Director of Marine Ian Dale said: 'I do not anticipate there will be any problems.' Representatives of Jardine were not available for comment yesterday, as were members of the various consortium. Sea-Land has considerable experience in terminal operations. It operates CT3 at Kwai Chung and has developed a specially designed computer system called Terminal Management System which integrates all terminal activities.