ship with containers on deck

© dandanian|iStockphoto.com

TEQ, TEU, FEQ

In the second half of the 20th century, units used to describe the capacity of container ships.

The cargo of such ships is packed in large modular steel containers which are stowed and removed unopened. The first containers were 20 feet by 8 feet by 8 feet high. A TEU or TEQ was the capacity to hold one such container (Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit). Later larger containers, 40 by 8 by 8 came into use; a ship’s capacity for such containers is measured in FEQ (Forty Foot Equivalent Units).

crane and containers

© Joerg Reimann|iStockphoto.com

for further reading

ISO Standards Handbook — Freight Containers.
Geneva: International Standards Organization, 2007.

Marc Levinson.
The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger.
Princeton (NJ): Princeton Univ. Press, 2008.

Brian J. Cudahy.
Box Boats: How Container Ships Changed the World.
Fordham University Press, 2007.

Alexander Close.
Charles Marcrum II, trans.
The Container Principle. How a Box Changes the Way We Think.
Cambridge (MA): MIT Press, 2015.

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