What kind of container locks are there?

What kind of container locks are there?
Containers are often left unattended outdoors. Naturally, you want to prevent any unauthorised person from opening your (shipping) container. You also want the doors of your container to remain locked during transportation and your cargo to arrive safely at its destination. You can do that by fitting your container with a container lock. While criminals can open or manipulate a standard container seal quite easily, a container lock will ensure that unauthorised persons are unable to gain access to a (shipping) container. That is how you can prevent fraud, damage, break-ins and theft. But what types of containerlocks are there? And which one should you choose? We have listed the options for you below. Can’t work it out? Contact our vehicle security specialists. They will be happy to help you with appropriate advice.

Container seals

Within the EU, the requirements for sealing your container are minimal but if you transport containers outside the EU, there are stricter requirements that you must take into account. Various customs authorities, including C-TPAT (United States) and ISPS (International Ship and Port Facility Security) stipulate the use of an ISO 17712:2013 certified container seal as a mandatory requirement. There are various types of certified container seals such as bolt seals and cable seals.
In spite of this ISO 17712:2013 certification, you still often find seals costing no more than a few cents being used. These cheap container seals are easy for criminals to manipulate. We have already written an article on this subject: Container security needs to be improved. If you really want to protect a container against theft, we advise you to opt for a container lock. However, you should take into account the fact that it must be possible for a container lock to be removed when going through customs.

Seal protector

If you want to protect a standard container seal, you can do that by using a seal protector lock. A seal protector is a square steel lock that you fit over the seal, making it impossible to get to and thus preventing manipulation of the container seal. In addition, a seal protector will also protect your doors against unauthorised opening.

Separate container padlock

Another way to provide extra protection for container doors is to use a separate padlock. That padlock will then be put through the opening of the container seal. Naturally, that is not the safest way to protect a container but if you do opt for this method, make sure that you choose a certified padlock such as the Abloy Protec2 PL358T. This container padlock provides maximum resistance if anyone should attempt to saw, drill, cut through or grind off the lock.

Mechanical container lock

If you want to protect your container against break-ins, cargo theft and stowaways, it is advisable to fit the doors of your container with a mechanical lock. With a good container lock, the doors of your container will remain protected against any unauthorised attempts to open them while in storage. And during transportation, a container lock will ensure that your cargo reaches its destination in good condition. A containerlock will also deter criminals for whom speed is of the essence. If they see that a container is well-protected, they will move on and look for one which is not so secure. Mechanical containerlocks come in various classes.

Basic container lock

You simply fit a removable basic container lock over the locking bars of the container and secure it using a padlock. Locks of this type are usually adjustable so that they can be used on the most common types of container. These basic locks are also available in a heavy-duty stainless steel design which is more difficult to cut through. Examples of these locks include the SBS TRE and TRP locks.

Kiwa SCM certified container lock

If you are transporting valuable goods in an export container, you want to be sure that they are safe. So it is advisable to fit the doors of your container with heavy-duty container locks. With a Kiwa certified container lock, you know for sure that your container is optimally protected against theft. That is because container locks bearing the SCM quality mark are extensively tested for strength. They are often supplemented by a heavy-duty cast iron bracket and a high-quality padlock.

One example of this type of a SCM certified lock is the SBS Cobra container lock. A SCM certified lock is even a mandatory requirement for certain types of transport insurance. So if you are the victim of theft and it is found that you did not have an approved lock, your insurer will not pay out. Read more about Kiwa SCM approved locks.

Electronic container lock

An electronic container lock is an option if you want to do more than just protect your container against theft. With an electronic lock, you can decide for yourself when and where the container lock can be opened and by whom. It can also be used to prove that the doors to your container have remained closed. With the help of geofencing, it is even possible to only open the lock at set locations, such as at customs.
Examples of electronic locks include the SBS BDI lock and the SBS e-containerlock. The BDI lock is permanently fitted to the inside of the container and is mainly of interest for shippers-owned containers.The e-container lock is flexible. You simply fit the e-containerlock over the bars on the outside of the container and remove it when it is no longer required.

Container monitoring

If you are transporting vulnerable cargo in a container, we recommend monitoring your load in real time. The SBS E-containerguard allows you to do that. You simply fit it over the bars of your container so that you can monitor the integrity of your container doors at the same time. You can also connect an electronic trailer lock to an online monitoring portal. With the help of temperature, light and motion sensors, you will be able to monitor the cargo in your container in real time and you will also be informed if anything should happen in transit.

More information about container locks?