Twenty-feet Equivalent Unit

GLOSSARY

TEU (Twenty-feet Equivalent Unit)

The Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (often TEU or teu) is an inexact unit of cargo capacity often used to describe the capacity of container ships and container terminals. It is based on the volume of a 20-foot long shipping container, a standardsized metal box which can be easily transferred between different modes of transportation, such as ships, trains and trucks. A related unit, the forty-foot equivalent unit (often FEU or feu) is defined as two TEU.

What is TEU(Twenty-feet Equivalent Unit)?

The Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (often TEU or teu) is an inexact unit of cargo capacity often used to describe the capacity of container ships and container terminals. It is based on the volume of a 20-foot long shipping container, a standardsized metal box which can be easily transferred between different modes of transportation, such as ships, trains and trucks. A related unit, the forty-foot equivalent unit (often FEU or feu) is defined as two TEU.

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Key takeaways:

TEU, also known as Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit, is an important unit of measurement with widespread use in the ocean freight industry.

This measurement is derived from the dimensions of a 20ft standardized shipping container. Because standard containers can be 20 or 40ft in length the capacity of a container ship can depend on the ratio of the two sizes.

In order to avoid confusion and standardize a ship’s capacity, the number of containers a ship can load is translated into a number of 20ft containers and that measurement is known as TEU. For example, one forty foot container is two TEUs.

It’s used in everything and anything from determining cargo and merchandise capacity on shipping vessels and selecting a container type to calculating port activity.

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How ship sizes are commonly categorized according to their TEU capacity:

Small feeder: Up to ~1,000TEU

Feeder: ~1,000 to ~2,000TEU

Feedermax: ~2,000 to ~3,000TEU

Panamax vessels: ~3,000 to ~5,000TEU

Post Panamax vessels: ~5,000 to ~10,000TEU

New Panamax (or Neopanamax) vessels: ~10,000 to ~14,500TEU

Ultra Large Container Vessel (ULCV): ~14,500TEU and above

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Container