Shipping Container Locks


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locked container door

Used storage containers are the perfect solution for building storage units, expanding your existing buildings, creating functional offices, attractive facilities, and more.

Of course, in addition to any major modifications you want to make, you’ll need to think about how to keep the structure safe and secure.

Just as containers are available in many shapes and sizes, there are multiple ways to boost shipping container security. One of the more popular safety customizations includes shipping container locks.

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Although shipping containers have a robust, high-strength steel construction that protects them from wind, water, and climatic weathering, there remains a threat of theft, vandalism, and break-ins.


In this article, we'll look at the ways we can enhance the security of our container units, the various types of locks, and how to select an appropriate locking system for your container.


The Best Ways to Enhance Shipping Container Security

The classic heist movies can confirm that even the toughest locking systems are penetrable. However, going a step ahead to create layers of safety by installing additional security measures makes it harder for anyone to breach.


Here are a few popular options for improving the security of your storage containers:

Heavy-Duty Padlocks

A padlock is one of the simplest yet efficient ways of protecting your containers from unwarranted entries. Because padlocks are widely available in all local hardware stores, you can install them from day one of buying your unit.

While buying a padlock for your container, you should consider a high-thickness, hardened steel lock. These locks will help secure the doors and keep the container closed when you're away.  

You can also use bolt locks and cylinder locks since they can withstand bolt cutters. Compared to other padlocks, they have a shorter, thicker neck that makes it difficult to use the bolt cutter's blade on them.


Shipping container lockboxes provide an extra blanket of security over conventional locks, making them one of the best security solutions for storing valuable items in your container.

A lockbox is a small, square-shaped unit that you can weld on the doors of your container units. These boxes conceal the lock and help prevent thieves and miscreants from cutting the shackles or shanks.

They are generally not a part of the standard shipping container accessories. However, most container providers offer lock-boxes as an optional add-on.

Windows With Security Bars

Shipping container windows serve many functions-they allow natural light to enter the container, improve circulation, and even help add to the aesthetics. Installing security bars also helps enhance container safety.

Security bars help narrow the access area to the container, preventing break-ins from the window. 

shipping containers with security bars


Adding a fence or a steel gate helps provide an extra line of defense to your containers. Tall fencing can help prevent potential thieves from climbing over and entering the compound. Alternatively, you can also use a solid gate around the container that blocks the view of your storage unit.

Inner Bolts

Inner bolt locks have two ways of locking: one on the outside and another one inside. You can use a simple sliding bolt on the inside and padlocks to secure the doors from the outside. The inner bolting system prevents the container from opening, even if someone tampers with your door lock.

Alarm Systems

Modern alarm systems come equipped with functional features like motion detectors, security cameras, sensors, and notification systems that alert in case of unauthorized access.

If you don’t want to invest in a high-end system, you can install a simple buzzing alarm that works on a standard power supply and a phone line.

Crossbar Locks

Crossbar locks are tubular steel extendable clamps that secure the container doors. You can attach them to the locking rods or handles of your shipping containers, and these locks have a keyed lock mechanism that keeps the clamp securely fastened.

Another advantage of using crossbar locks is that they don't require welding.

What to Consider Before Buying Storage Container Locks

Locks are generally the most convenient, cost-effective, and efficient way to secure a shipping container.


Before you select an appropriate lock for your cargo unit, here are a few things to consider:

Weather-Resistant Materials

Since shipping container buildings are always out in the open, they remain exposed to rain, snow, and other harsh weather conditions. A lock that corrodes quickly can be detrimental to the security of your shipping container.

Although all locks may eventually deteriorate over time, buying a weatherproof lock that does not degrade rapidly is always better.

Security Rating

If you want to check how secure your padlocks are, you can look for its CEN (Central European Norm) rating. Padlock manufacturers originally introduced this system to measure the security of the locks they sold.

The CEN grading system rates locks from Grade 1 to Grade 6, which offers maximum security, while Grade 1 provides low security. You can check the CEN rating of your container locks to determine the level of protection they'll provide.

High-grade locks may be expensive due to extra security features. Select an appropriate security rating depending on your budget and the amount of protection you need.

Drilling Protection

Most intruders find their way to a container through drilling or bolt-cutters. That’s why it is best to buy a heavy lock with one or more metal stop plates. Anti-drill plates or metal stop plates protect the lock's inner mechanism by preventing drill bits from penetrating.

Types of Shipping Container Locks

You can choose one of the following container locks depending upon the amount of security you require:

Heavy-Duty Locks

heavy duty lock.jpg

Heavy-duty locks have a hardened alloy steel body that makes them durable and challenging to saw or cut. There are many varieties of heavy-duty container locks, of which some are highly tamper-proof due to their design. While buying a heavy-duty lock, look for a shorter shackle.

A shorter neck ensures there isn't sufficient space for sawing the lock.

The ABUS 82/70 Padlock is usually a good option for containers.

Cargo Container Lock

 Kossie Shipping Container Lock.jpg

Shipping container locks like the Kossie Container lock have a unique construction for securing both doors of a container unit. They generally have a tubular steel body with thick walls that protect the doors from any unwarranted entry.

Container Door Lock Boxes

A container door lock box.jpg

These units help provide an extra protection layer to your containers. A high-security container with lock-box shields the padlock and prevents tampering.

Roll Door Lock Boxes

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If you are using a custom shipping container with roll-up doors, look into roll door lock-boxes. These boxes have a convenient design that allows installation on rolling doors. Because these are customized locks, you'll have to ask your container provider to fabricate them for you.

Alarmed Bolt Lock

Alarmed Bolt Lock.jpg

Alarm locks are high-security units with an in-built 120/130-decibel alarm. Any unwanted movement can trigger the alarm. An anti-theft alarm bolt lock generally has included keys that make it easy for the authorized person to switch the alarm on or off quickly.

Padlocks With Pin Code

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Padlocks with pin-code systems make it much easier to secure your shipping containers without physical presence. Smart locks with PIN, such as the Igloohome Smart Padlock, offer multiple access modes such as app-based unlocking, Bluetooth, etc.

Truck Seals

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If you're operating from a low-risk area and require frequent access to your shipping containers, you can use metal trailer seals to secure your containers. Though they provide minimum security for your container, they are one of the most cost-efficient options available.


Locks are a highly convenient and cost-effective solution for enhancing the security of your shipping containers. However, they are not a part of the standard accessories, and you must contact your shipping container provider to select an appropriate locking system for your business.

Mobile Modular Portable Storage offers high-quality shipping containers for sale and rent with security customizations for an additional level of protection.




What Kind of Lock Do I Need for a Shipping Container?

You must select heavy-duty locks with anti-drill plates and a short shackle that makes them difficult to drill or saw. Choosing suitable materials is crucial for a weather-resistant design.

What Is the Best Way to Lock a Shipping Container?

Depending on the amount of security you need, you can choose from a padlock, bolt lock, lock-box, alarmed lock, shackle-puck locks, and intelligent locking systems.

Is It Easy to Break Into a Shipping Container?

Shipping containers have a high-strength Corten steel body that protects them from environmental elements. With locking systems, you can ensure that your unit is fully protected and secured from theft and break-ins.

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