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).
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.
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:
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.
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.