NEW YORK — A growing number of ocean carriers have stepped forward to participate in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, a U.S. Customs Service program intended to improve the security of the millions of cargo containers that enter the nation’s ports each year without bringing world trade to a grinding halt.

Major lines including Seaboard Marine, APL Logistics and Maersk-Sealand have agreed in the C-TPAT program to step up their efforts to keep their ships and cargo secure, through such steps as running background checks on all employees, inspecting all supposedly empty containers to verify they are empty and notifying Customs of cargoes and shippers with unusual profiles.

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