We are often asked what is the best padlock for a shipping container and especially on those that have a lockbox in place. Shipping containers are not all the same which makes the question a little harder to give a straightforward option. Many containers have a box covering the main fitting, which is excellent for security but does make access for fitting a padlock a little tougher. Two main types of padlocks stand out and are discussed below.


Removable shackle types

Shackle removed from the body

These are high-security insurance locks where you can remove a small grub screw on the side of the lock and when unlocked, allows the shackle to come out of the body entirely. The screw is simply a retaining screw so it can be removed permanently and does not compromise the security of the padlock.

Once the padlock is unlocked, remove the shackle and put your hand up the inside of the lockbox so you can loop the shackle up and over the fitting. Then push the padlock body back onto the base of the shackle and lock the padlock. The whole padlock should now be sitting on the fitting inside the lockbox.

One style of lock that does this is the Granit range from Abus. Coincidentally, it is also insurance approved and one of the most reliable padlocks on the market. Available in a variety of sizes and shackle types, you may find that in some cases the longer shackle types might give you more room to manoeuvre.

Warehouse / Shutter Padlocks

These padlocks come with a straight shackle rather than the typical U-shaped seen on many padlocks. This means you can simply align the padlock with the loop inside the enclosed lockbox and slide the shackle closed.

You will still need to measure to check the fittings (often a metal ring) to ensure it will sit inside the gap of the padlock. Check the diameter of the padlock shackle so you know it will not be too thick to fit through the hole in the locking loop on the container fitting.

The other thing to check is that the keyway and shackle extrusion are on the same end of the padlock so that you can still access both when fitted to the container. Often warehouse/shutter padlocks have the key and shackle working at opposite ends which would mean they are not suitable for use inside the lockbox on the container. We would recommend the Abus 92 series as this has the keyway and shackle extrusion at the same end, making access possible when attached inside the lockbox.

Specifically designed container locks

Where you have a container without a lockbox then it is prudent to add one yourself. You can either have someone weld one to the container or use something designed for the job like this container lock from Abus.

You bolt it onto the container via holes that you drill yourself. The unit comes with a padlock specifically designed to fit and is in fact, one of the long shackle Granit locks where the shackle can be removed entirely.

For more information, we also have a page dedicated to the topic Container Padlocks Here.