Manual Twistlocks

A twistlock and corner casting are now the standardized method for securing shipping containers internationally. Twistlocks were developed in the 1950s by American engineer Keith Tantlinger, who is responsible for revolutionising shipping practices.

Currently it is possible to obtain manual, semi-automatic or automatic twistlocks. As you would expect, manual twistlocks need to be locked and unlocked manually using operating rods, while semi-automatic and automatic twistlocks automate some of the process.

Manual twistlocks are frequently used when securing second tier containers in double stacking configurations.

How to Use Manual Twistlocks

To use a manual twistlock, simply place the bottom cone of the lock in the top corner casting of a container that has already been loaded into place. At this point it should be in the unlocked position, with the operating rod either to the left or the right, depending on whether it is a left or right operating twistlock.

When a second container is lowered on top of the first, the top cone of the twistlock will slot into the open mouth of the lower corner casting of the second-tier container. When the second container is in place, move the operating rod from right to left, or left to right, depending on the lock configuration.

A container should be secured with four manual twistlocks, one in each corner of the connected containers. Select right to left or left to right locks so that all operating rods sit in the same position when locked. This makes it easier to visually ensure that containers are locked in place, and to unlock the containers in batches when it is time for removal.

To unlock the containers for removal, return the operating rods to their original position before removing the top container.

Features of a Good Manual Twistlock

A good quality twistlocks should include a number of essential features:

  • Meet ISO strength requirements and other specifications;
  • Properly secured operating rids that do not fall down from the container;
  • Easy to determine whether the twistlock is locked or unlocked from the position of the handle;
  • Feature shock absorbers;
  • Compatible with both hinged head and fixed head lashing rods;
  • Symmetrical to be used upside down when required;
  • Easy to maintain, assemble and disassemble.

Manual Twistlock Maintenance and Repair

All twistlocks should be inspected, cleaned and lubricated on a regular basis to ensure that they are safe for use. If during inspection, one of the cones of the lock is found to be damaged, the lock can no longer be used and should be disposed of. All other lock mechanisms are replaceable, and parts can be secured from the supplier.

Manual Twistlock Supplier

Here at Ocean Link we are the leading container lock supplier worldwide. Our expert staff can advise on exactly which type of container lock offers the best security and the best value for your particular needs. While our head offices are in Australia, we can ship products to ports around the world. We currently ship to the United States, Australia, Europe and China.

Ports in the United States

There are currently approximately 360 active ports in the United States, and many of them number among the busiest in the world. The Port of Los Angeles located in San Pedro Bay, California is the largest on the west coast and is responsible for the majority of transpacific trade. On the east coast the Port of New York and New Jersey is the largest, offering access to one of the most concentrated consumer markets in the world. The ports of Savannah in Georgia, of Seattle and Tacoma in Washington state, and of Huston in Texas are some of the country’s other leading US ports.

Ports in Australia

Despite its relatively modest population, Australia is serviced by around 50 ports. The largest ports are unsurprisingly in Sydney and Melbourne, but the third largest port, in Brisbane, is also the fastest growing container port in the country.

Ports in Romania

Romania is services by 25 ports located in the Black Sea, the Danube Black Sea Canal and the Danube River. The Port of Constanta is the largest on the Black Sea, the largest in Romania, and the 17th largest in Europe.

Ports in France

France is served by more than 330 ports. The Marseille Fos Port is the country’s busiest handing 88 million tons of cargo in 2011. La Havre follows closely receiving 75 million tonnes of cargo in the same year, but is in fact the largest container port in the country.

Port of Hong Kong

While Hong Kong’s small size means that it is served by only one port, it is one of the busiest in the world in terms of all three main categories: shipping movement, cargo handled, and passengers carried. Its location on the South China Sea and the naturally deep waters of Lake Victoria provide ideal shipping conditions.

Ports in China

China has 34 major ports, but over 2,000 minor ports spread across the country. The five busiest ports serving the economic superpower are the ports of Shanghai (the world’s busiest container port), Shenzhen, Ningbo, Qingdao and Guangzhou.

Semi-automatic Twistlocks

semi-automatic twistlocks
semi-automatic twistlock

Twistlocks have been around since the 1950s as the safest and most effective way to secure containers on ships. Semi-automatic twistlocks make this process even easier as they lock automatically when a container is placed on the ship, but they are still secure as they require manual unlocking when it is time to release the container. This is especially useful when loading containers at a height, as it means that twist locks can be attached and locking mechanisms pre-loaded on the ground.

How to Use Semi-Automatic Twistlocks

To fit the semi-automatic lock to the container quay-side and pre-load it for automatic lock, twist the lower cone of the lock in an anti-clockwise direction until the upper cone is in an open position. Insert the upper cone into the open mouth of the corner casting of the container. Release the lower cone by pulling the handle out and up until it is in a centre horizontal position. This will cause the upper cone to lock, securing its connection with the container. Ensure that the lock is facing the right direction so that its mechanism is accessible during unloading.

When the container with semi-automatic lock is lowered into the top corner casting of another container, the lower cone will automatically twist into place and lock under the weight of the container.

In order to open the twist lock for container removal, twist the handle to the right and pull downwards. This will unlock the lower cone so that the container can be handled by the spreader that will be used to lift the containers from the ship. With the handle open in this way the shock load from the spreader will not cause the semi-automatic lock to relock.

Emergency tools are available to release the lock if it has accidentally been mounted backwards and the unlocking mechanism is not accessible.

Once the container is quay-side, to detach the lock from the container, pull the handle, which will turn to upper cone to the open position and allow it to be removed.

Features of a Good Semi-Automatic Twistlock

A good quality semi-automatic twistlock should include a number of features, all of which are present in the semi-automatic twistlocks provided by Counter Lock.

  • It should meet ISO strength requirements and other specifications.
  • The safety lock pin of the twist lock should be properly secured and never fall down from the container.
  • It should have an easy unlocking mechanism allowing the container to be released quickly and easily.
  • It should be straightforward to check whether the twist lock is opened or closed from the position of the handle.
  • It should feature shock absorbers to protect the handle against mechanical shock.
  • It should be compatible with both hinged head and fixed head lashing rods.
  • The design should be symmetrical so that it can be used upside down when required.
  • It should be easy to maintain, assemble and disassemble.

Semi-Automatic Twistlock Maintenance and Repair

Semi-automatic twist locks should be inspected and cleaned on a regular basis to ensure that they are safe to use. A basic inspection should include checking the mechanism and spring action as well as greasing all removable parts.

If during maintenance the cones of the lock are found to be damaged, the lock should not be used again. If a problem is with the wire, handle or bolts, these can easily be replaced.

Semi-Automatic Twistlock Supplier

Here at Ocean Link we are the leading container lock supplier worldwide. Our expert staff can advise on exactly which type of container lock offers the best security and the best value for your particular needs. While our head offices are in Australia, we can ship products to ports around the world. We currently ship to the United States, Australia, Europe and China.

Ports in the United States

There are currently approximately 360 active ports in the United States, and many of them number among the busiest in the world. The Port of Los Angeles located in San Pedro Bay, California is the largest on the west coast and is responsible for the majority of transpacific trade. On the east coast the Port of New York and New Jersey is the largest, offering access to one of the most concentrated consumer markets in the world. The ports of Savannah in Georgia, of Seattle and Tacoma in Washington state, and of Huston in Texas are some of the country’s other leading US ports.

We serve all major ports in the US.

Ports in Australia

Despite its relatively modest population, Australia is serviced by around 50 ports. The largest ports are unsurprisingly in Sydney and Melbourne, but the third largest port, in Brisbane, is also the fastest growing container port in the country. We serve all major ports in Australia, including Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Ports in Romania

We serve all major ports in Romania.

Romania is services by 25 ports located in the Black Sea, the Danube Black Sea Canal and the Danube River. The Port of Constanta is the largest on the Black Sea, the largest in Romania, and the 17th largest in Europe.

Ports in France

France is served by more than 330 ports. The Marseille Fos Port is the country’s busiest handing 88 million tons of cargo in 2011. La Havre follows closely receiving 75 million tonnes of cargo in the same year, but is in fact the largest container port in the country.

We serve most ports in France.

Port of Hong Kong

We serve the port of Hong Kong.

While Hong Kong’s small size means that it is served by only one port, it is one of the busiest in the world in terms of all three main categories: shipping movement, cargo handled, and passengers carried. Its location on the South China Sea and the naturally deep waters of Lake Victoria provide ideal shipping conditions.

Ports in China

China has 34 major ports, but over 2,000 minor ports spread across the country. We serve most Chinese ports, including the five busiest ports – ports of Shanghai (the world’s busiest container port), Shenzhen, Ningbo, Qingdao and Guangzhou.

Container Locks: Joiners, Castings, Clamps, and Footings

Whether used for storage or transportation, containers need a high-quality locking mechanism that will keep them in place and also protect the content in them. Container locks come in different shapes, sizes, and are made of different materials. That being said, most of them fall into two categories: a padlock and a combination lock. Of course, it’s also useful to mention other types of container locks such as twist lock joiners, bridge clamps for shipping containers, multiple-dial combination locks, footings for shipping containers, among others. Let’s take a closer look to some of the best (and most important) container locks found today.

Twist lock joiners

Twist lock joiners

The whole purpose of container locks is to make it more practical to secure and protect containers whether they’re stored on their own or attached to something else. Speaking of connecting containers to something else, usually the other container, twist locks are made specifically for this purpose. With twist lock joiners you can go one step further as these devices connect standard twist-locks together. As a result, you’re able to achieve horizontal connecting to adjoining shipping containers easily. The joiners are quite simple; instead of connecting directly to the containers they bind double-ended twist-locks together. That way, they allow these locks to fit perfectly between containers. It’s needless to mention this is beyond useful for situations where you have multiple containers that need to be stacked, aligned, and secured. Applications of twist lock joiners are numerous ranging from shipping to movie sets, storages, and you name it.

Container Corner Castings

Container Corner Castings

Corner casting is, basically, the structural element of a container and its main purpose is to allow it to connect to other containers in both horizontal and vertical manner. Container corner castings also allow us to connect containers to various transport modes be it rail, ship, or road. Not all corner castings are created equal, though. For example, weldable twist locks are incredibly versatile as you can include them onto a factory floor, truck, a barge, and other structures. What makes weldable corner castings so amazing is that they allow us to connect the container to some other structure, but at the same time they’re removable so you can simply detach it whenever it’s necessary. If you’re in the shipping industry, the corner castings are a must-have item.

Shipping Container Bridge Clamps

Shipping Container Bridge Clamps

Shipping container bridge clamps are, essentially, heavy-duty clamps that are specifically created to lock containers together. Bridge clamps are practical mainly because they can connect containers side by side, or on top of one another like legos. However, the most common method of usage of bridge clamps is to connect containers horizontally. In order to lock and secure containers, bridge clamps are used in combination with twist locks. The two are a perfect match where shipping container bridge clamps take up the side holes whereas twist locks occupy holes on top and bottom of the corner casting. Their position in the color casting and the whole purpose of connecting containers and acting as the bridge gave these clamps their name.

Shipping Container Footings

Shipping Container Footings

In some cases, it is necessary to get the container off the ground. For example, if the ground is boggy or wet and container carries content with a lot of weight, you may want to consider using shipping container footings. These footings are also useful for other scenarios and static applications. Although they are built to last and remain durable, containers still need more support and protection. Nowadays, it’s possible to find different shipping container footings, but one thing a vast majority of them have in common is a weldable twist lock in various forms such as hook bolts on the base. In addition to static applications, footings also prove to be useful for shipment in the harshest conditions.

As seen throughout this post there are many ways to connect the container to other containers and different structures and thereby keep them safe, secure, and protected. In most cases, a combination of different locks proves to be the best way to stack containers during shipping, but also in the motionless environment as well. Container locks are usually heavy duty and are made to last.