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"Teus" redirects here. For the Spanish-Filipino goalkeeper who played for Real Madrid, see Eduardo Teus. For the airport, see Te Anau Airport.
A 20-foot-long (6.1 m) ISO container equals 1 TEU.
Forty-foot containers stacked on top of two twenty-foot containers. These four containers represent 6 TEU.

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.[1] It is based on the volume of a 20-foot-long (6.1 m) intermodal container, a standard-sized metal box which can be easily transferred between different modes of transportation, such as ships, trains and trucks.[1]

The container is defined by its length though there is a lack of standardisation in regard to height, ranging between 4 feet 3 inches (1.30 m) and 9 feet 6 inches (2.90 m), with the most common height being 8 feet 6 inches (2.59 m).[2] Also, it is common to designate 45-foot (13.7 m) containers as 2 TEU, rather than 2.25 TEU.

Forty-foot equivalent unit[edit]

The standard intermodal container is designated as twenty feet long and 8 feet (2.44 m) wide.[1] Additionally there is a standard container with the same width but a doubled length of forty feet called a 40-foot container, which equals one forty-foot equivalent unit (often FEU or feu) in cargo transportation (considered to be two TEU, see below).

Load bearing of container stacking is at the 40-foot corner stone couplings.

In order to allow stacking of these types a forty-foot intermodal container has an exact length of 40 feet (12.192 m), while the standard twenty-foot intermodal container is slightly shorter having an exact length of 19 feet 10.5 inches (6.058 m). The twistlocks on a ship are put at a distance so that two standard twenty-foot containers have a gap of three inches which allows a single forty-foot container to be put on top. [3]

The forty-foot containers have found wider acceptance, as they can be pulled by semi-trailer truck. The length of such a combination is within the limits of national road regulations in many countries, requiring no special permission. As some road regulations allow longer trucks, there are also variations of the standard forty-foot container — in Europe and most other places a container of 45 feet (13.72 m) may be pulled as a trailer. Containers with a length of 48 feet (14.63 m) or 53 feet (16.15 m) are restricted to road transport in the United States. Although longer than 40 feet, these variants are put in the same class of forty-foot equivalent units.

Container ships only take 40-foot and 20-foot containers below deck, plus 45-foot containers above deck. Ninety percent of the containers that container ships carry are 40-foot units. As container ships carry 90% of the world's freight, at least 81% of the world's freight moves via 40-foot containers.

The MV Emma Mærsk officially carries 11,000 TEU (14 tons gross each)[n 1]


TEU capacities for common container sizes
Length Width Height Volume TEU
20 ft (6.1 m) 8 ft (2.44 m) 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m) 1,360 cu ft (38.5 m3) 1[citation needed]
40 ft (12.2 m) 8 ft (2.44 m) 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m) 2,720 cu ft (77 m3) 2
45 ft (13.7 m) 8 ft (2.44 m) 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m) 3,060 cu ft (86.6 m3) 2 or 2.25
48 ft (14.6 m) 8 ft (2.44 m) 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m) 3,264 cu ft (92.4 m3) 2.4
53 ft (16.2 m) 8 ft (2.44 m) 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m) 3,604 cu ft (102.1 m3) 2.65
High cube
20 ft (6.1 m) 8 ft (2.44 m) 9 ft 6 in (2.90 m) 1,520 cu ft (43 m3) 1[2]
Half height
20 ft (6.1 m) 8 ft (2.44 m) 4 ft 3 in (1.30 m) 680 cu ft (19.3 m3) 1[2]

As the TEU is an inexact unit, it cannot be converted precisely into other units. The related unit forty-foot equivalent unit, however, is defined as two TEU. The most common dimensions for a 20-foot (6.1 m) container are 20 feet (6.1 m) long, 8 feet (2.44 m) wide, and 8 feet 6 inches (2.59 m) high, for a volume of 1,360 cubic feet (39 m3). However, both 9-foot-6-inch-tall (2.90 m) High cube and 4-foot-3-inch (1.30 m) half height containers are also reckoned as 1 TEU.[2] This gives a volume range of 680 to 1,520 cubic feet (19 to 43 m3) for one TEU.

While the TEU is not itself a measure of mass, some conclusions can be drawn about the maximum mass that a TEU can represent. The maximum gross mass for a 20-foot (6.1 m) dry cargo container is 24,000 kilograms (53,000 lb).[6] Subtracting the tare mass of the container itself, the maximum amount of cargo per TEU is reduced to approximately 21,600 kilograms (47,600 lb).[6]

Similarly, the maximum gross mass for a 40-foot (12.2 m) dry cargo container (including the 9-foot-6-inch-high (2.90 m) cube container) is 30,480 kilograms (67,200 lb).[6] After correcting for tare weight, this gives a cargo capacity of 26,500 kilograms (58,400 lb).[6]

Twenty-foot, "heavy tested" containers are available for heavy goods such as heavy machinery. These containers allow a maximum weight of 67,200 pounds (30,500 kg), an empty weight of 5,290 pounds (2,400 kg), and a net load of 61,910 pounds (28,080 kg).[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Maersk claims 14,780 TEU worth of space and a loading plan of 15,212 TEU.[4][5]


  1. ^ a b c Rowlett, 2004.
  2. ^ a b c d "Container Shipping". damovers.com. DaMovers.com. Archived from the original on 2008-03-27. Retrieved 2008-03-22. 
  3. ^ "How Does It Work?". Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  4. ^ "Namegiving of newbuilding L 203". Odense Steel Shipyard. 2006-12-08. Archived from the original on July 13, 2007. 
  5. ^ Koepf, Pam (2006). "Overachievers We Love". Popular Science 269 (6): 24. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Shipping containers". Emase. Archived from the original on April 20, 2009. Retrieved 2007-02-10. 


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twenty-foot_equivalent_unit — Please support Wikipedia.
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1754 news items

Money Flow Index
Wed, 25 Nov 2015 05:07:30 -0800

... management, leasing and resale of a fleet of marine cargo containers. The Company is a lessor of intermodal containers based on fleet size, with a total fleet of more than 1.6 million containers, representing over 2.4 million twenty-foot equivalent ...


Wed, 25 Nov 2015 07:45:00 -0800

The company has six 1,400 twenty-foot-equivalent unit container ships with dual-fuel engines on order at Yangzhou Guoyu Shipbuilding in China for delivery from next year. The vessels will be chartered to Finnish short sea operator Containerships Oy ...
Money Flow Index
Wed, 25 Nov 2015 10:11:15 -0800

As of April 12, 2013, its assets consisted of 24 oil tankers, 12 drybulk carriers, 11 container vessels (including two chartered-in 13,800 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) vessels), two car carriers, one jack-up drilling rig, three ultra-deepwater ...


Sun, 22 Nov 2015 21:30:02 -0800

A slowdown in China has sent commodity prices swooning and dealt a blow to global growth. Now a stuttering recovery in the world's second-largest economy could spark the biggest shipping union in years. Neptune Orient Lines, owned by Singapore's state ...
News Watch International
Sun, 22 Nov 2015 22:00:00 -0800

... management, leasing and resale of a fleet of marine cargo containers. The Company is a lessor of intermodal containers based on fleet size, with a total fleet of more than 1.6 million containers, representing over 2.4 million twenty-foot equivalent ...

TheNewsOracle.com (blog)

TheNewsOracle.com (blog)
Tue, 24 Nov 2015 15:37:30 -0800

Acquiring Neptune Orient would help consolidate CMA CGM's position in the global container market along with Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Co. Drewry said that an additional 1.6 million twenty-foot equivalent unit (teu) of capacity is being added ...

Ship & Bunker

Ship & Bunker
Sun, 22 Nov 2015 17:41:15 -0800

The Shanghai Containerized Freight Index Friday plummeted to $295 per twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) container for transporting containers from Asia to Northern Europe. This $114 week-on-week drop comes on the heels of spot freight rates on the ...
OTC Outlook
Sun, 22 Nov 2015 21:15:00 -0800

As of December 31, 2013, consisted of 17 containerships with an aggregate capacity of 66,349 twenty-foot equivalent unit and a twenty-foot equivalent unit weighted average age of approximately 9.8 years and a non-weighted average age of 10.9 years.

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