Hutchison's Hong Kong International Terminals will get 21.34 hectares of land at Container Terminal 9 while Wharf's Modern Terminals will get 48.45 hectares. Under the new deal, endorsed by the Joint Liaison Group last week, HIT will have a 700-metre sea-frontage, including 60 metres for barge services. HIT will have a regular berth and a berth for feeder services at the northern end of the terminal. MTL will have 900 metres of sea-front for three berths and a 310-metre sea front to the south for its feeder service. Port Development Board secretary Tony Clark said MTL's feeder berth was originally planned as a quay wharf and HIT's feeder berth would occupy part of the cargo handling area of CT9. The arrangement also will address environmental matters, including construction of an off-site screen building which is to be in place before the northern berths become operational. Under the deal, MTL will relinquish control of its two berths at CT8 West to a new Sea-Land group-led consortium, Asia Container Terminals. Ed Aldridge, who heads ACT, said ACT expected to occupy the first berths of CT8 when the second and third berths of CT9 were completed. ACT will meet MTL and HIT to negotiate these arrangements. Mr Aldridge said he expected each CT8 berth to have a 550,000-teu capacity. The Government, members of ACT and the old Tsing Yi Consortium said the deal was entirely a commercial one and there had been no political pressure. The Government expects construction work on the CT9 project to start at the end of this year. The first berths of CT9 are expected to be completed 18 months after construction begins. The Government will only start looking at CT10, CT11 and CT12 after CT9 takes off. A source said another burning question that had to be solved was the dredging of the Rambler Channel. 'The question is whether the dredging will come under the CT9 project or will be a separate one,' he said. Without deepening the channel, large vessels if fully loaded would not be able to enter the channel, he added. If this happened, Hong Kong would lose the business to other neighbouring ports, the source said. Kaohsiung was expected to take away a great deal of Hong Kong's transshipment business when direct shipping between Taiwan and China took place, he said. About one million teus will move away from the territory to Taiwan when direct shipping is allowed. The source said it was only a matter of time before this happened. He said that coupled with the slower container growth experienced this year, Hong Kong would be in danger of losing its title as world's busiest container port.