TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit)

TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit)

What is TEU?

The Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) is a standard unit of measurement in the freight industry, widely
used to describe the capacity of container ships and terminals. One TEU represents the dimensions of a
standard twenty-foot container, a universal benchmark for calculating the capacity of cargo vessels and
the volume of shipments.

TEUs are crucial for understanding and planning containerized cargo transport, offering a uniform way to discuss and compare container sizes and ship capacities. This measurement is essential in global trade, facilitating effective and efficient shipping operations.

How to Calculate TEUs

Calculating TEUs is straightforward. The basis of the calculation is the standard twenty-foot container. Here’s a simple guide to understand how to calculate TEUs:

  • Identify the size of your container. Standard containers are usually either twenty feet (one TEU) or forty feet (equivalent to two TEUs) in length.
  • For non-standard-sized containers, calculate the equivalent number of twenty-foot containers they represent. For instance, a forty-five-foot container would be calculated as 2.25 TEUs (45 feet / 20 feet).
  • Add up the TEUs for all containers in your shipment to get the total TEUs.

This calculation helps in planning and optimizing the space on container ships, ensuring efficient use of capacity and effective cost management in shipping operations.