Twenty-foot Equivalent Units, or TEUs, are exact container ship and terminal cargo capacity measurements. The measurement is based on a 20ft shipping container. Because standard containers can be either 20 ft or 40 ft long, container ship capacity can be determined by the ratio of the two sizes.

It is standard practice to translate a ship's cargo capacity into several 20ft containers, and that measurement is called a TEU. For example Two TEUs are equal to one forty-foot container.

Freight capacity and throughput are calculated using this unit. A TEU is equivalent to a standard 20-foot shipping container. TEUs are used to calculate the capacity of container vessels. Container ports also use the unit to measure cargo throughput.

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