Join our Newsletter

Stay up to date with must-know developments in International Trade by having new content delivered right to your inbox.

Trade Advice

TEU |Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit in Shipping

05/08/2021 4 Min Read

Share It:

In the shipping business, any carrier must know its capacity. For ease of calculations, standard accepted sizes for the containers are Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) and Forty-foot Equivalent Unit (FEU).

What is the meaning of TEU in shipping?

Definition: A TEU or a Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit is a widely used unit of measurement in the shipping business. It is an intermodal shipping container with dimensions (L x B x H) : 20ft x 8ft x 8ft. At least 9 to 11 pallets are held by these containers subject to the type of pallets i.e., standard or EUR pallets. The capacity of 2 TEUs is equivalent to the capacity of 1 FEU.

Forty Foot Equivalent Unit (FEU) is an intermodal shipping container size with dimensions (L x B x H) : 40ft x 8ft x 8ft. At least 20 to 24 pallets can be held by these containers subject to the type of pallets i.e. standard or EUR pallets.

How are the TEU’s used for measuring?

One can get to know the TEU by merely dividing the container length (in ft) by 20.

For example, a (20ft x 8ft x 8ft) container will be 1 TEU. A (40ft x 8ft x 8ft) container will be 2 TEU (48ft x 8ft x 8ft) the container will be 2.4 TEU. TEUs are the standard unit of measuring the carrier's capacity and can be converted to other container dimensions.

TEU’s are also used to measure the throughput and efficiency of a port. The use of TEU in measuring the number of cargo going through a particular port is used by all the central port authorities as well as the World Bank. It is a standard unit of measurement. For example, Long Beach port in the USA handles approximately 16 million TEUs in a year, which converts to 1.4 million TEUs per month.

Calculating the TEU can also help to know the total cost of the container. TEUs are also helpful in the classification of carriers as follows:

How are the TEU’s used for measuring

Apply for Invoice factoring with drip capital

How many TEU are in a container ship?

TEU unit is also commonly used in measuring the size of a shipping vessel. As vessel sizes vary a lot, TEUs are used to convey a particular ship’s carrying capacity.

For example, the average container ship has a carrying capacity of up to 14,000 TEU, whereas the largest container ship, MSC Gülsün, can carry up to 23,756 TEU.

                                  Container Size

How many TEU are in a container ship

How is the TEU ratio calculated?

TEU ratio is calculated by simply dividing the length in feet of the container by Twenty. For example, a (20ft x 8ft x 8ft) container will be 1 TEU. A (40ft x 8ft x 8ft) container will be 2 TEU (48ft x 8ft x 8ft) the container will be 2.4 TEU. TEUs are the standard unit of measuring the carrier capacity. Since it's the minimum unit, TEUs can be converted to other container dimensions.

Difference between TEU and FEU

Difference between TEU and FEU

Also Read

Apply for working capital loan for exporters

Avani Ghangurde

Associate, Communications at Drip Capital

Join our Newsletter

Stay up to date with must-know developments in International Trade by having new content delivered right to your inbox.

We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our website. By continuing to browse this site, you give consent for cookies to be used in accordance with and for the purposes set out in our Privacy Policy and acknowledge that your have read, understood and consented to all terms and conditions therein.