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Cargo Locks – Securing Trailers and Containers

Cargo locks are something that we don’t think about very often, maybe we should. With terrorism high on everyone’s mind it is a different time then it was before 9-11. Think about all the Tractor-Trailer (Semi-Trucks) that are on the road. What are they hauling or what could they haul? What about all the shipping containers that enter the U.S. through our ports? Are they secure? There are two ways to secure trailers and containers: one is by using security tags that are placed on the locking mechanisms and are tracked by serial number or RFID. The other way is to use Cargo Locks and Locking Systems. In this article I will discuss Cargo Locks.

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Types of Cargo Locks:
King Pin Lock: This lock secures the “King Pin” on the trailer. Once placed on the King Pin, the trailer is not able to be hooked up to the tractor. The tractor king pin is what connects the trailer to the tractor.
Glad Hand Lock: The “Glad Hand” is a coupling device that connects the air supply from the tractor to the trailer. The Gland Hand Lock secures this device so that the trailer cannot be connected to the trailer.
Air Brake Lock: This lock connects to the dashboard of the tractor securing the air brake switches.
Gear Down Lock: This lock secures the landing gear of the trailer preventing them from being cranked up into driving position.
Vertical Door Bars: These locks secure the rear doors of the trailer to prevent them from being opened.
Roll Up Locks: These locks secure the roll up doors that are found on some trailers.
Locks:The above locking systems are only as good as the locks that go with them. All of these devices have some cam lock or padlock. These locks should be high security and patented. This will provide both physical security and key control. Padlocks from Big Box stores are not a high security lock as they don’t offer key control. I have discussed key control in past articles, briefly, if you can take your key to any store and have it duplicated you DO NOT have key control.

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There is more effort being placed on the security of Trailers and Containers. New style locks have RFID built in. Electronic locks are being deployed. Tracking tags are getting additional electronic tracking capability. GPS devices are being used.No matter what is being used, the rear trailer door should be locked and the trailer should be secured from moving unless authorized.I hope this article makes you more aware of transportation security.