Lock boxes – Shipping Containers

Lock box security for your shipping container

If you’re using a shipping container for storage or transport, chances are that very valuable items are kept inside. Whether it’s for personal or for business use, a container of either a 20ft or a 40ft size, has so much space inside that the value of the belongings placed in there will be quite high. Needless to say, it will be disastrous if these items were to be stolen or damaged. So what security do you have for your valuables? Containers are built to be wind and rain resistant. If you regularly check your container for leakages or gaps between panels, you can have peace of mind that all items inside are safe from the weather.

There is another factor which is harder to combat though. The human factor translates into thieves who are desperate and smart enough to break into your container. Even though the panels are fortified iron and hard to get through, there are still the doors to consider. Any container can usually be locked by a padlock which will keep the locking mechanism from moving into the unlocked position. Unfortunately, thieves may be organised enough to have a bolt cutter to cut the lock with. This means that you need another layer of security to keep your valuables safe. This additional layer comes in the form of lockboxes and sliding bolt locks.

1 lockbox

Improved protection

One step up from a chain and padlock is sliding bolt locks. These sliding bolt locks serve as an added feature on specialised padlocks. These bolts are thicker and sturdier than a general padlock. This translates into more security, because a thief who only has a bolt cutter or crowbar at his disposal won’t easily cut through such thick steel. Immediately you’re given an added layer of protection for the valuable cargo in your container. Sliding bolt locks do not affect the look or shape of the container, so the container is still viable for use on ships or trains.

Ultimate barrier

There is a way of improving the security of your container even further and this is by the installation of a lockbox. Containers that are bought brand new these days, may already have a lockbox as standard issue. Older types or second hand containers may not present this necessary item and then it’s wise to acquire one and have it installed. These lockboxes are steel plates assembled into a cover which fits over the lock. By covering the padlock with a lockbox, it creates a confined space around the padlock. This space is too small for a thief to manoeuvre a bolt cutter in, in order to cut the padlock. Lockboxes are usually welded to the container’s body during manufacturing. However, lockboxes can easily be attached to your container yourself, if there isn’t one installed already. If you do take up the task yourself, you can either weld it to the body of the container, or attach it with bolts.

1a lockbox


With advances in manufacturing and motivated by the increasing demand for security, container manufacturers these days offer additional mechanisms as standard specification. This will usually be slimline boxes which fit neatly over the container’s padlock. The slimline boxes are within the ISO standard. Other options which will still be sufficient for the purpose of storage is a standard lockbox. Both of these options keep intruders from damaging or cutting your container’s padlock. The improved padlock with its sliding bolt lock feature is definitely a better choice than a basic lock and can also deter intruders.


The decision to install a standard lockbox, slimline boxes or sliding bolt locks will make your shipping container even more appropriate to the task you acquired it for. Benefits include:

  • If your container is left alone for long periods, the chances that someone breaks into, becomes lower.
  • If your container is used to transport goods over long distances, thieves are deterred by the additional security a lockbox offers. They don’t want to attract attention by struggling with a secure system.
  • You can have peace of mind about the security of your belongings, instead of losing sleep over it.
  • With additional levels of security around your belongings, your home or business insurance premium may be positively affected. Make sure to enquire about this with your insurer.
  • Improved security doesn’t mean the container is not appropriate for transport anymore, because both sliding bolt locks and slimline boxes are sturdy, but still in line with ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation). This means that containers fitted with them can still be shipped.