The regulatory scene for air cargo screening changed drastically with the introduction of the Certified Cargo Screening Program. Screening equipment like X-ray, Explosives Trace Detection (ETD) and Explosives Detection Systems (EDS), which were designed for use in the passenger environment, were moved in to the cargo environment. Although equipment manufacturers have taken some great steps to optimizing these systems for use in cargo, we are always looking for something that will move our freight faster at a lower cost. This is why we were excited to see that on May 18th TSA has taken a major step into the Third Party Canine Program by opening the window for third party certifiers. The next step is the certification of third party canine handling companies.
At the center of this program is the use of breeds such as German Shepards, Belgian Malanois and Labrador Retrievers. The big question however is, “how is this going to affect the movement of cargo for all those involved?”. These trained canines have the ability to detect down to a few parts per trillion and do so in a matter of seconds, where existing technologies take 2 or more minutes per screening event! The Canine/Handler teams are trained to focus on the task at hand, allowing them to not be distracted by many of the ongoing movement in the cargo environment. The use of canine in cargo screening will allow the screening of skids, break bulk, AKE and baggage containers more effectively, reliably and quickly. This will reduce the number of man hours and resources that are needed for current screening systems.
The Third Party Canine Screening Program has companies like K2 Solutions, MSA Security and AMK9 excited and preparing their teams for certification. The challenge will be keeping up with the demand as this new layer of cargo screening is introduced.