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TEU - Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit

Container transportation does not only carry cargo; it also carries economic growth and cultural ties." -Marc Levinson

What is TEU?

TEU Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit represents the carrying capacity of a 20 foot (6mt) Container. It is indispensable for international sea and railway transportation.


Larger containers are usually expressed in multiples of TEU;

For example, 1 40 foot (12m) container is considered 2 TEU. Or FEU (Forty-Foot-Equivalent-Container.


Thanks to this standardization created as a result of the long efforts of Malcolm McLean, the pioneer of container transportation, The way for MultiModal transportation has been paved.


TEU is an indispensable tool for Just in Time .


For container measurement units, you can refer to Wikipedia/Intermodal Container page.


With this unit of measurement;

  • Annual container handling capacity of the port,

  • Traffic density capacity of the port environment,

  • Carrying capacity of the container ship in terms of units,

It can be measured.



TEU History

  • 1956: American trucker Malcom McLean creates the first container ship .

  • 1961: TEU by International Shipping Organization (IMO) It is considered a standard unit of measurement.

  • 1980s: With the increase in containerization, TEU becomes even more important.

  • 2000s:TEU is now used not only in shipping but also in rail and road transport, as part of the global supply chain.


Benefit of TEU to Purchasing Processes

  • TEU is a constant guideline for a purchasing manager. It provides great convenience in load capacity, transportation cost and logistics planning.

  • Thanks to the standardization of TEU, inventory control and order tracking become more transparent.


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