Air Cargo Screening

Traditionally, security checks for air cargo shipments are performed by trained dogs and security officers. The increase in global air cargo over the past decade, however, has presented an increased need for additional security systems to screen cargo. Systems that are being used today include X-Rays and other explosive scanning devices. In the last 6 years. the TSA has expanded its use of canine detection teams, which conduct primary and secondary screening of air cargo. While all cargo is screened, the emphasis is on freight which will be moved on passenger airliners. An internal audit conducted in 2015 suggested that better training, detection technology and oversight are needed in order to prevent drugs, contraband and potentially threatening items out of the air cargo system. Commercial air cargo accounts for nearly 25% of all incoming shipments in Canada. In addition to recommending stronger screening, a report highlighted that almost any system can fail if the screening staff has become corrupted or simply not committed to doing their job properly. The Canadian government has said that filling gaps in their air cargo screening system will cost $202 million over the next 10 years, and would represent a significant shift in the way that air cargo is screened. Proposals have also been made to allow shippers to screen cargo themselves, once cleared by the TSA to do so. Such a program would greatly reduce the amount of screening that must take place at the airport, and would result in a more efficient process in loading cargo onto planes.