Jardine Matheson Holdings was left nursing its wounds yesterday after being officially excluded from any involvement in Container Terminal 9 (CT9) by arch-rivals Hutchison Whampoa and Wharf (Holdings). The Jardine companies - Hongkong Land Holdings and Jardine Pacific Holdings - will take a reduced 28.5 per cent stake in a new consortium, Asia Container Terminals (ACT), and relinquish control of the consortium to the Sea-Land Group. Hongkong Land's treasurer and infrastructure chief, Duncan Straughen, refused to say whether Jardines had been pressured to cut its holding in ACT. 'Shareholdings in the consortium changed several times and the final version is the only one ever made public. The bottom line is that we are very happy with that percentage.' Hongkong Land's managing director, Percy Weatherall, said: 'It is good news that the new berths at Hong Kong's container port can now be built and we are pleased to be an active participant in CT8.' Construction of CT9 was delayed for more than four years because mainland authorities objected strongly to Jardines' involvement in the project, and a series of negotiations to resolve the stand-off stalled repeatedly. Gonzaga Li Wei-jen, chairman of Wharf which owns 50.8 per cent of Modern Terminals Ltd (MTL), said: 'As far as MTL is concerned, the present arrangement is a way forward for the Hong Kong container port.' Canning Fok Kin-ning, managing director of winning consortium member Hutchison, said he was 'pleased this very complicated issue was resolved and that everybody was happy and supportive of the deal'. ACT will own and operate the two MTL berths at CT8 West under the compromise deal. Sea-Land, which operates CT3 at Kwai Chung, will hold a 29.5 per cent stake in ACT, Sun Hung Kai Properties 28.5 per cent and New World Infrastructure 13.5 per cent. MTL will take three berths at CT9 and Hongkong International Terminals (HIT) will take the fourth. Additional adjacent feeder berthing facilities will also be provided for HIT and MTL. Secretary for Economic Services Stephen Ip Shu-kwan said the feeder berths would facilitate shipping access and direct delivery of cargo to the terminals by feeder vessels instead of by lorries through the increasingly congested roads. The southern feeder berth will be within the CT9 area while the northern feeder berth will occupy part of the cargo-handling area. The Government is to provide a piece of land to HIT behind its feeder berth for construction of an off-site screen building which is to be in place before the northern berths become operational. ACT chairman Ed Aldridge said: 'We expect to move into MTL's berths when CT9's berths two and three are available.' Mr Ip said: 'The detailed arrangements will now be worked out. The Government will seek early agreement of the Land Commission on the provision of land required for the CT9 development.' Port Development Board secretary Tony Clark said that in putting together the deal, the parties had tried to maximise the development potential of CT9. Acting Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands Anthony Cooper said: 'The premiums to be charged haven't been calculated yet.' He denied the project would be further delayed by negotiations over financing the project. Construction work on CT9 is expected to begin early next year and the first berths to be completed in 1999.