Delays a threat to opening of CT 9

OPENING of Container Terminal 9 will be delayed if work does not begin by the middle of this year, says Port Development Board secretary Tony Clark.

''Obviously, I hope the technical briefings will be completed by March so that the work can be started,'' he said.

Government officials are still discussing technicalities of Terminal 9 with representatives of Hongkong International Terminals, Modern Terminals and the Tsing Yi Container Terminal Consortium, the three parties which have been given the rights to build and operate Terminal 9.

While admitting that he was not a construction man, Mr Clark said his analysis showed that the first berths would not be completed on schedule in mid-1995 if resources were not mobilised and work started on the project by mid-year.

Terminal 9 was dragged into the Sino-British dispute after China's representative on the Joint Liaison Group, Guo Fengmin, said Hongkong had signed contracts for the project without consultation, an allegation the Government denied.

Mr Clark said he expected Kwai Chung port to become congested in July this year, but the log-jam would be eased as the first berth of Terminal 8 came on stream in August.

Terminal 8, now under construction, will have a 1.8 million 20 ft equivalent unit annual capacity that will be totally taken up by mid-1995, at which time Terminal 9 on Tsing Yi would be needed.

Mr Clark said he expected the anticipated congestion problem at the port in mid-1995 to last for only a short time.

until the first berth of Terminal 9 came on stream, provided the project was started by the middle of this year.

And recently Director of Marine Tony Miller said Terminal 10 on Lantau Island would be needed six months before its planned mid-1997 completion date, due to the rapid growth in container.