TEU Shipping Containers, Meaning & Capacity

Part Of The Freight Term Glossary


What is a TEU in shipping?

A twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) is a shipping container whose internal dimensions measure about 20 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 8 feet tall. It can hold between 9 and 11 pallets, depending on whether they are standard pallets or EUR-pallets. Two TEUs have the capacity of a single FEU.

TEU shipping: meaning, capacity & containers

When booking a shipment, it’s important to know what a TEU is this is used to determine what your cost of shipping will be. Rates are given according to TEU, so to get the total cost you can multiply the rate per TEU by the number of TEUs in your shipment.

TEU is a measurement that is also used to determine the capacity of container ships.


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If you are ready to search rates based on the number of TEUs in your shipment, head over to Freightos.com for free live Quotes. Simply enter your port of origin and port of destination, select the size and quantity of containers you’d like to get an estimate for, and select your shipment preferences, then compare Quotes from a range of vetted logistics providers.


TEU is used to refer to containers with twenty-foot equivalent unit while FEU is an acronym for forty-foot equivalent unit.

Both terms describe the size of a shipping container and are used as standardized measures for the amount of volume being shipped.  For example, if you shipped two 20FT containers and a 40FT container, then you shipped shipped 4 TEU (or 2 FEU).

Want to learn more about shipping containers, boxes, and pallets? Click here.