DB Schenker detection dogs have a nose for prohibited items

Published: Tuesday, September 5, 2023

London Heathrow, UK—DB Schenker in the UK says it is using free-running explosive detection dogs on a daily basis to detect prohibited items from certain airfreight shipments.

The dogs trained to screen cargo are from a variety of breeds and chosen specifically for their sense
of smell. These include Spaniels, Labradors, German Shepherds, and Golden Retrievers.

The highly trained dogs receive between six- and 12-month intensive instruction before they become part of the team and are particularly chosen for their ability to detect explosives. A new cohort is currently also in training to be able to sniff out lithium batteries. They are operating at Heathrow and Manchester and will soon also feature in Glasgow.

“The speed and accuracy of the screening they undertake has become an essential part of our operation and they give us a reliable method of detecting certain items which would otherwise prove difficult using other approaches,” said DB Schenker’s UK Aviation Security Manager Ian Dallow.

Not only are the dogs used to search regular airfreight shipments, but their keen sense of smell makes them ideal for outsize shipments which have been tendered as airfreight but are too large to pass through an X-Ray machine.

The dogs can discover anything untoward in such a shipment much faster than a manual search by humans and this ability to expedite the screening process ensures swift and efficient movement of customer goods.

DB Schenker personnel at its multimodal locations around the country are involved in preparing freight for screening and ensuring the screening activities are carried out in accordance with strict regulations, so the use of dogs provides a highly effective additional screening method.

The purpose of using dogs is to look for things that aren’t supposed to be there. They are looking for prohibited items, for example, a part of an explosive device. There are different rules for cargo and passenger aircraft so it is important to be fully conversant with all rules which apply to each aircraft type. A knife in a cargo shipment may not be dangerous but may be prohibited in baggage.