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Shipping Container Security

While our shipping containers are heavy duty metal boxes, and a great alternative to a shed or similar size store, shipping container security can be a problem. Especially if certain individuals think there is something of value in them. This article hopefully highlights the common problems and best solutions to shipping container security.

Breaking/Cutting Padlocks

If a container is on site being used for storage and has a small padlock through the locking bars, the Padlock’s not only open to the elements (freezing in cold weather etc.) but also to any vandals or unsavoury characters who want a peek inside your container. Below are a few options for shipping container security starting with our popular Lock box and padlock combo.

Lock Box

The easiest way to instantly increase the security of a shipping container is to add a lock box and heavy duty suitable padlock. Shipping container lock boxes are essentially anti-vandal padlock surrounds which fit to the cargo doors of your container to enclose your padlock so it is only accessible from the underside – a very popular option with our containers being used for storage as it means the locks cannot be jimmied off or easily be got at with bolt cutters (These are so popular in fact that new containers are now being manufactured with slim line lock boxes as standard!)

When purchasing used containers these additions are a great feature to keep your belongings safer and securer. Please specify at your point of order if you want a lock box adding to your used container. It is really something we need to add prior to delivery (otherwise it can get very expensive to get a welder out after delivery)

Our general advice: a lock box and a padlock on a shipping container will deter all but the most determined thief. In most cases it will deter a ‘chancer’ from trying and he or she will find an easier target.

If you purchase a ‘one trip’ new container from us there will already be a slim line lock box fitted so all you need to worry about is the padlock.

You can find out more about lock boxes and how they work from this brief introductory video:

Padlock Options

We offer two padlock options, both are essentially ‘shipping container padlocks’ but the CISA option is the industry standard and the Squire option is our 5mm bigger, made in Britain option. Either will do the job, both are the same price, so its customer preference more than one being better than the other.

CISA container padlocks are silver in colour and have a 75mm solid hardened steel body/shackle and come with 3 ‘big’ keys. They have an anti-pick, anti-bump and anti-drill keyway as well as an anti-saw shackle. The big keys are even usable with cold or fat fingers!

Squire Stronghold container padlocks are manufactured in the UK from 80mm hardened steel and have a black highly corrosion-resistant body. Again they have an anti-pick, anti-bump and anti-drill keyway as well as an anti-saw shackle. These padlocks are also insurance rated (CEN-4 rated / High security). When used with a lock box it should be relatively easy to add the contents of your shipping container to any existing insurance policy you have covering the site.

Either one of these padlocks is ideal for use with shipping container lock boxes but are also suitable for use on security gates, warehouses, industrial units and even commercial vehicles.

No Lock Box fitted?

Another common problem with shipping container security is having a container delivered without any security accessories then deciding you want a lock box. If you already have had a container on site, either for a number of years or you’ve recently had a container delivered, and think ‘actually I wish I had a lock box on it now’ as mentioned above, getting a welder out to fit a standard lock box can get very expensive. Luckily we do offer out self-fit DIY lock boxes which is a simple bolt on option, rather than weld on. A simple self-fit product that includes instructions and a drill template. All you need is someone feeling a bit handy, a felt pen, a drill and a spanner or socket.

Security Alarm systems is not something we offer, but if what’s inside your shipping container needs that sort of protection and you need that sort of peace of mind, an alarm may not be a bad idea. A handful of our customers have taken just the shipping containers from us and then fitted an aftermarket alarm system themselves (although the container they took were new one trip containers which came with a lock box as standard!)

Bulldog locks

Another product we offer security-wise is a Bulldog container lock. These are specially made from case-hardened steel and weigh 3.5kg. These are transferable from one container to another which is great if you have regular numbers of import/export containers held at your premises, or if you move other people’s containers with goods in them. As above, we generally recommend a lock box and padlock combination for simple site storage use but if you’re after a removable lock for a rotation of containers bulldog locks should certainly be considered.

Doubling up on Security

20150615_135009ASome of our customers have requested ‘double lock boxes’ to be fitted. Subject to the customers requirements, we will typically offer one in the usual place (centre of the cargo doors) and one about knee height.

As far as we’re concerned a single lock box and a padlock will deter all but the most determined thief but some customers, particularly the ones who have had problems with security before, do like the idea of a double lock box. By the time any vandal and spent all his energy smashing off one lock box they can’t be bothered to start on the second so just leave the container away. As always please make this clear at the point of order because this is not what Budget Shipping Containers offer as standard.

Another option, which isn’t as popular any more but still a very good security feature to have is a deadlock fitted. An old fashioned, strong key and keyhole. Even if a lock box get smashed off or the locking rods get bent, your container doors are not going to open easily without the key! This is definitely not a standard modification so is only available from our major depots.

We have in the past also built in additional security measures for customers who feel that their container will be broken into. here are a lot of potential options for additional security measures, but we will stop short of detailing these all as advertising these options online as this can also work as research for people looking to break into shipping containers.

Personnel Door Security

IMG_0131If you have a personnel door fitted in your container, which is a more popular option with containers being used as site offices, workshops etc. and you are concerned about security, please don’t hesitate in getting in touch with us.

We understand that while our standard shipping container personnel doors have 10 point locking systems, anti-drill cylinders, anti-jimmy studs and anti-knockout hinges it doesn’t stop people having a go at getting in them! To the left is a picture of a steel personnel door which a vandal has had a really good go at. A personnel door will lock into the door frame/container in many different pinning locations and can be a real nightmare to jimmy open so some people simply don’t bother once they realise it is multiple point locking. This chap was obviously very persistent but still didn’t get in! So it just shows how secure even a standard personnel door is. If you have any concerns about personnel door security just ask because we do have even heavier duty doorsets (fireboard infill, weights are around 90kg) for extra, extra vandal protection.

Older containers Security

P1000618If you buy a used shipping container from budget shipping containers you are guaranteed not only a wind and water tight container but also it will be structurally sound. You can expect circa 10 years of good use out of it and with a lock box and padlock combo anyone trying to get into it will need some serious cutting gear!

If you did not get your container from budget shipping containers, and your unit is old, maybe severely rusting and rotting, thieves and vandals can spot this a mile away. The image to the left shows an old, broken hasp (on the left door) and a bit of bare metal where a lock box once was (on the right door). This ancient container has had its lock box smashed off with brute force; maybe a lump or sledge hammer. An old rusty/rotting lockbox that was welded on 20 years ago will not be as secure as one recently fitted or as a bolt on equivalent. If the doors on your container are still good, get a new box welded on or the bolt on equivalent to re-secure your container. If it is a lost cause, as unfortunately some are, we will happily make you the best offer we can to take your container away. In some cases this is a free of charge service. offer the UK’s largest online range of shipping containers for sale with a nationwide network of storage and conversion yards and crane equipped delivery vehicles.

If you need a shipping container feel free to browse our online range of shipping containers for sale, which also includes our ranges of flat pack sheds, container canopies and more. You can also call us on freephone 0808 1234 215 any time 9am – 7pm weekdays and our team will be happy to discuss your requirements. Alternatively, you can use our online shipping container quote form or request a telephone callback. In both cases we aim to get back to you within 1-2 working hours (may take longer for more detailed quotes).

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