Cargo handling is a significant part of the haulage process because the success of the entire operation rests on it. Container haulage is the most widespread method of transporting cargo across the whole world.

Containers can be utilized to transport goods by land, air, and water in all three ways. Container haulage services need to make sure proper handling of the cargo to ensure secure transportation of goods from one point to another.

Faulty or negligent handling of the container cargo can lead to various potential dangers or accidents en route. An estimated research result has shown that approximately more than 10000 containers get their load wasted when they fall overboard and spill their content into the ocean. An estimated 50% of this happens because of faults and negligence in the cargo handling process.

Various types of equipment are used to secure cargo into the containers and then load those containers on ships or trailers etc. Most of the time, containers are loaded on top of one another too. The basic, essential items used in a proper and secure container cargo handling process are as follows.

Base Twistlock

As per the name, the crew uses this lock on the base, aka the deck. There is a socket provided on the deck that this lock is mounted on. The container should be loaded over the base twist lock and installed according to proper instructions to ensure cargo safety. The workers can find the instructions in CSM. Once you have loaded the container, make sure you lock the wire handle.

When you want to remove the lock, pull the wire all the way through, then pull the twist-lock backward, and then lift the lock from the socket.

Read more: Types of Containers in Haulage Services

Semi-Automatic Twist Lock

This type of lock is used between the containers when they are placed on top of one another to form a stack. They are used in between containers to secure them with each other. They are not to be confused with mid-locks.

Mid locks

They are used between 20 feet containers to secure them on the deck. They are similar to semi-automatic twist locks but especially made for 20 feet containers.

Semi-Automatic Base Twistlock

The crew uses these on the lowermost tier of the deck. They are used along with mid-locks in spaces between them.

Hanging Staker

A hanging staker is the equipment that workers use to secure the 20 feet containers on all four sides. It is very essential as it provides security on all sides.

Lashing Rods

These are rods of various lengths; they hold the containers from one side, and then the crew ties them up to the deck from the other side. Container haulage observes all these instructions with all these tools for secure transportation of cargo.

Bottle Screw and Turnbuckle

These are used together in combination for the purpose of tightening the lashings on the container so that they come loose during the journey and cause damage to the cargo carried in them.


The container cargo handling crew uses the spanner as a tightening tool for the bottle screws and turnbuckles for maximum security and protection.

Emergency Tool

The crew should keep this tool for an emergency sort where the twist-lock can not be opened by pulling the wire handle all the way through. The workers use this emergency tool to keep the twist-lock open. The tool keeps the twist lock in an open position until the container is securely lifted through the help the tool.


Grease is a necessary component that keeps other equipment fresh, smooth, and in shape. Grease is used on components like lashings, nuts and bolts, bottle screws and turnbuckles, etc. so that they don’t freeze or get stuck and cause trouble in the process of container cargo handling.

FAQs (Frequently asked questions)

What is container handling?

Container handling consists of the safety measures that haulage subcontractors take to ensure a safe and secure journey of container cargo from one point to another.

What is a cargo handling system?

The cargo handling system involves securing the cargo in the containers and then securing the containers in the relevant mode of transportation to ensure their safe journey to their destination. The crew uses various tools and equipment in the process.

What is cargo handling in maritime?

The maritime sector includes ships, ports, marine services, routes, etc. Cargo handling in maritime includes carving out proper container ship routes, container handling, and care done while aboard the ship, and in turn, the cargo must not be a hazard to the ship’s crew and the vessel itself.