Qatar Airways Cargo and Hong Kong ground handler Hactl have teamed up to provide an extra layer of security for the airline’s ex-Hong Kong flights, using technical detection dogs to sniff out hidden lithium batteries in air cargo.
The detection service is being provided by leading specialist MSA Security, which now operates a team of security experts and sniffer dogs within a dedicated area at Hactl’s SuperTerminal 1 facility.
The dogs are specially-trained to detect specific odours, resulting in their ability to detect lithium batteries, whether they are in loose, palletised or containerised cargo. In proving trials at Hactl, an MSA dog successfully detected packages containing lithium batteries in PCs, and even a single power bank, located on pallets containing other general cargo.
This is the first time that an airline and cargo handler in Hong Kong utilised trained dogs for lithium battery detection. Qatar said the decision to use dogs rather than traditional X-ray detection alone was due to the difficulty of reliably identifying lithium batteries via X-ray images, particularly for e-commerce shipments containing multiple types of product in small packages.
MSA dogs are trained at one of the company’s 11 canine training centres in the United States, and housed locally in their dedicated kennel in Hong Kong. Hactl said further dogs are constantly being trained, and can be made available at short notice in the event of increased demand.