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What does TEU and FEU mean?


What does TEU and FEU mean?

TEU and FEU are standard units used in the shipping industry to measure the capacity of containers on ships and estimate the volume of cargo they can carry. Here's what they stand for:

TEU: TEU stands for Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit. It refers to the standard size of a shipping container that is 20 feet long. A TEU represents one standard-sized container. It is widely used as a unit of measurement for shipping container capacity.

FEU: FEU stands for Forty-foot Equivalent Unit. It refers to a shipping container that is 40 feet long, which is twice the length of a TEU. An FEU represents one container of this size. FEUs are typically used for larger and bulkier cargo or when a larger container is needed.

The use of TEUs and FEUs allows for a standardized way of measuring and comparing the capacity of different ships and estimating the volume of cargo they can transport. 
For example, a ship with a capacity of 5,000 TEUs means it can accommodate 5,000 standard-sized 20-foot containers or an equivalent combination of larger or smaller containers.

It's important to note that while TEUs and FEUs are widely used, there are also other container sizes in use, such as 45-foot containers, high-cube containers, and specialized containers for specific cargo types. 


TEU and FEU in shipping

TEU and FEU are terms in shipping. There are used to describe container sizes that can be used in:

TEU unit vs FEU unit  (20GP v 40FT

What does TEU volume stand for? 

A twenty-foot container is a standard container size. 

The dimensions of a TEU container are:

20 feet (6.1 meters) length *  8 feet (2.4 meters) width * 8 feet 6 inches (2.6 meters) height

The maximum gross mass for dry cargo TEU is 52,910 lb.: 47,770 lb (net load) and 5,140 lb (empty container weight). The total payload weight is 28.31 tons (28,310 kgs), and the max gross weight is 3.480 tons (30,480 kgs).

A 20-foot container, or TEU, has a maximum capacity of 28-29 CBM.

What does FEU volume stand for? 

A forty-foot container is a standard container size.  40HQ/FT 

The dimensions of a FEU container are

40 feet (12.2 meters) length * 8 feet (2.4 meters) width * 8 feet 6 inches (2.6 meters) height.

The maximum gross mass for dry cargo FEU is 67,200 lb: 58,380 lb (net load) and 8,820 lb (empty container weight). The total payload weight is 26.73 tons (26,730 kgs), and the max gross weight is 3.480 tons (30,480 kgs).

A 40-foot container, or FEU, has a maximum capacity of 65 CBM.

However, TEUs and FEUs remain the most common units of measurement in the shipping industry.

TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) and FEU (Forty-foot Equivalent Unit) have their own advantages and disadvantages in the shipping industry. 

Here are some key points to consider:

Advantages of TEU:

  • Flexibility: TEUs are more versatile and flexible in terms of cargo handling. They can be easily transported by various modes of transportation, such as trucks, trains, and ships, without requiring specialized infrastructure.

  • Lower Cost: TEUs generally have lower transportation costs compared to FEUs. They require less space on ships and are more widely available, resulting in potentially lower shipping rates.

  • Accessibility: TEUs are more accessible at most ports and terminals. Many ports are well-equipped to handle TEU-sized containers, making it easier for shippers to find suitable facilities for loading and unloading their cargo.

Disadvantages of TEU:

  • Limited Capacity: TEUs have a smaller capacity compared to FEUs. As a result, they may not be suitable for larger or bulkier cargo that requires more space.

  • Less Cost-effective for Some Cargo: In certain cases, using TEUs to transport cargo may be less cost-effective. For larger shipments, using multiple TEUs instead of FEUs may lead to higher overall transportation costs.

  • Handling Efficiency: As TEUs are smaller, they require more handling and potentially more time to load and unload compared to larger containers like FEUs.

Advantages of FEU:

  • Higher Capacity: FEUs have double the capacity of TEUs, allowing for larger or bulkier cargo to be transported more efficiently. This makes them suitable for goods that require more space, such as automobiles or large machinery.

  • Cost-effective for Large Shipments: Using FEUs for larger shipments can be more cost-effective. Consolidating cargo into fewer containers reduces handling, documentation, and transportation costs.

  • Better Stowage Efficiency: Due to their larger size, FEUs can often be stowed more efficiently on ships. This can result in better space utilization and potentially reduced transportation costs.

Disadvantages of FEU:

  • Higher Costs: FEUs generally have higher transportation costs compared to TEUs. The larger size and weight of FEUs may lead to higher fees and charges at ports and terminals.

  • Limited Accessibility: Not all ports and terminals may have the infrastructure and equipment to handle FEUs. It may require specialized facilities or arrangements, which can limit accessibility for certain locations.

  • Equipment Availability: FEUs may be less readily available compared to TEUs, especially in regions or industries where there is a higher demand for smaller containers.

Ultimately, the choice between TEUs and FEUs depends on various factors, such as the nature of the cargo, shipping routes, cost considerations, and the availability of infrastructure. 

Shippers and logistics providers need to evaluate these factors to determine the most suitable container size for their specific needs.

If you are interested in China import and export shipping services, please feel free to contact us.


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