Demand for K9 or police dogs, able to sniff out explosives, has surged with worries of shipment delays as operators struggle to find animals and X-ray screening equipment in time for a July deadline.
It is the latest threat to supply chains, already strained because of the Covid crisis and the online shopping surge that have driven up demand for international shipping.
Air cargo has also been stretched because of the sharp rise in demand for goods at a time when many passenger planes, which usually carry half the freight volumes, remain grounded.
The rules, which mean all goods on international cargo flights must be screened, have been brought in by the UN's International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
The deadline is causing particular problems in the US where groups were a long way off from meeting the ICAO rules and there was uncertainty over whose responsibility it was to screen the cargo.
It expands existing requirements to check freight in the belly of passenger aircraft in response to a printer cartridge bomb plot in 2010 that targeted two cargo planes bound for the US from Yemen.
It takes about six to eight weeks and US$100,000 to train and deploy a dog with its handler. 'There's enough canines to do the work, but not enough time to get it done,' said Global K9 Protection Group CEO Eric Hare.
Express carriers such as UPS said they were prepared well ahead of the July deadline, but smaller air cargo carriers and ground handling agents are more likely to struggle than some of their bigger rivals.