Four Reasons Why Canines Remain the Chosen Partner in Explosive Detection

ShannonBy: Shannon Grubbs, Explosive Detection Canine Instructor, SOC

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As many air carriers now know, a deadline is looming for a major regulatory shift that will drastically alter international air cargo safety screening standards. Beginning, tomorrow, June 30, the phase out of currently acceptable forms of screening [focusing on concealed explosive devices] will now require new forms of passenger and freight screening, such as Certified Cargo Screening Facilities K-9 (CCSF-K9), screened to a level intended to identify and/or detect the presence and/or use of unauthorized explosive devices. 

 With the June 30 deadline quickly approaching, many air carriers are seeking ways to implement new screening procedures to adhere to these new rules. Considering every single piece of cargo must now be screened for explosives before any aircraft takes off, this is no small undertaking. Worldwide air freight traffic increased 7.2 metric tons from pre-COVID 2020 to where we are currently in 2021, according to market data firm Statista. That rate of increase won’t be falling anytime soon, as consumers have become more accustomed to ordering online and expecting their purchases quickly.

 To meet this demand while staying compliant, air carriers will need a fast, efficient, effective, and highly scalable explosives screening solution. As of today, there is only one screening solution that fits the bill in a cost-effective way – highly trained canines.

 Canines are undoubtedly the fastest and most effective way to screen cargo for explosives. As a TSA-certified Certified Cargo Screening Facility-Canine, SOC is well aware of this and has been training canines and delivering our security solutions for years.


 Here are the top four reasons why properly trained canines are the most effective explosive device detectors available and why air carriers across the U.S. should consider utilizing them in their efforts to become compliant with new ICAO rules.

  1. They’re Efficient

Studies and real-world applications have found that canines are able to effectively screen cargo faster than other technologies available. What separates canines from other explosive-detection technology is their ability to screen cargo pieces as a whole, rather than individual items. Canines have an estimated 300 million sensory receptors in their nose compared to 6 million in human beings (source), making them extremely sensitive to odor detection and skilled at their jobs. Additionally, canines are a more cost-effective option compared to most other technology available.

  1. They’re Dynamic

Canines have the ability to adapt and evolve to meet emerging industry needs. Highly-trained dogs are able to develop new skills and modify current screening techniques as industry demands shift. As the canines continue to train and work operationally, they become more experienced and develop greater precision when identifying explosive odors and their source.

  1. They’re Versatile

Canines are a mobile tool that can be leveraged in a multitude of different operational settings where it may not be possible to use other technology. Considering new handlers do not require an extensive background in explosive detection to utilize canines, these solutions are applicable to a wide range of scenarios. For the training handlers do require, SOC’s experts are able to effectively train canine teams on site to industry standards and current practices.

  1. They’re Rapidly Deployable

Canine teams are easily deployed and require little to no setup or preparation. This is especially important considering the short turnaround time many air carriers are facing as the new ICAO rules take effect. Canine service providers are able to assess an air carrier’s needs and quickly provide solutions that are built to their specific requirements. Air carriers in need of explosive detection solutions should not delay in reaching out to a service provider to get started.

 Considering an explosive detection canines’ ability to help air carriers screen explosives and comply with new regulations, demand for these services is skyrocketing. Air carriers must be selective in identifying collaborative entities such as their CCSF-K9 contractors.

 At SOC, we have been monitoring this regulatory development and working with air cargo entities to help the industry prepare for this new safety standard. With a leadership team of experts working for more than 30 years training canines to meet explosive detection needs, our Canine Solutions Group is at the ready to provide air carriers with turnkey canine solutions to address this new standard.

 Reach out to us today to find out more about how our Canine Solutions Group can help your organization stay compliant.


Learn more about SOC's cargo screening capabilities here.

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