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What is TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit)?

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TEU

Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit

A TEU or Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit is an exact unit used to measure cargo capacity for container ships and container terminals. To simplify, you must know the basics. 

- There are two common international standardized container types- twenty and forty feet long. 

- A twenty-foot unit is externally measured at about 6 meters long.

- A forty-foot unit is externally measured at 12 meters long, which is clearly double the length of a twenty-foot container.

- Depending on how many twenty-foot and how many forty-foot long the containers (or both combined) are present on board, the ship capacity will change. 

- To standardize and express a container ship’s capacity uniformly, the number of containers a ship can load is translated into a number of containers of the smallest size, which in this case is twenty feet long. 

When putting it into perspective, a forty-foot container is referred to as 2 TEUs. 

How can I calculate TEUs? 

You can calculate how many TEUs a container is, you can just divide the length of your container (in feet) by 20. This will get you the TEU unit, which will then allow you to calculate the cost of shipping for your containers.  

How can I calculate a TEU price? 

When quoting, shipping companies give calculations according to per TEU. What you need to do is find out how much the shipping company charges per TEU, then after finding out this number, multiply it by however many TEUS you have.

To simplify, a 40-foot TEU is going to have double the price of a 20-foot TEU. 

What else is TEU used for? 

TEUs are also used to decide the nominal capacity of container ships and container terminals, along with container transit in ports. 

   

   

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