North Carolina State Ports Authority partners and customers who participate in the Homeland Security Department’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism program now have a closed loop of security certification.

“We are very pleased to see that the North Carolina State Ports Authority has become a certified partner in the C-TPAT program,” said Chris von Kannewurff, group vice president of “K” Line America Inc., one of the Port of Wilmington’s container lines. “C-TPAT is one of many important security layers that we like all of our business partners to maintain.”

The Authority’s Ports in Morehead City and Wilmington and the Charlotte Inland Terminal received C-TPAT certification Feb. 26.

The program examines each link in the supply chain to ensure the security of cargo entering the United States. Steamship lines, overseas suppliers and ports, and other participants in the shipping process are examined for adherence to program requirements, administered by the Customs and Border Protection division of the Department of Homeland Security.

The certification is a major step in the Ports’ ongoing security upgrades, said Doug Campen, the Ports Authority’s director of safety and security.

“Before Sept. 11, 2001, port security wasn’t at the top of the nation’s priority list,” he said. “That changed rapidly, and we have received more than $8 million in federal port security grants. These allowed us to install security and access-control systems we needed before we could apply for C-TPAT certification.”

The Ports’ nearly $7 million security project, including perimeter fencing, lighting and cameras at all locations, and biometric badges for access control, was completed last fall. The C-TPAT application was filed in December, Mr. Campen said.