Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit

The twenty-foot equivalent unit (often TEU or teu) is an inexact unit of cargo capacity often used to describe the capacity of container ships and container terminals. It is based on the volume of a 20-foot long intermodal container, a standard-sized metal box which can be easily transferred between different modes of transportation, such as ships, trains and trucks.

One TEU represents the cargo capacity of a standard intermodal container, 20 feet (6.1 m) long and 8 feet (2.4 m) wide. There is a lack of standardisation in regards to height, ranging between 4.25 and 9.5 feet (1.30 and 2.9 m), with the most common height being 8.5 feet (2.6 m). Also, it is common to designate 45-foot (14 m) containers as 2 TEU, rather than 2.25 TEU.


As noted above, the TEU is an inexact unit, and hence cannot be converted precisely into other units. The related unit forty-foot equivalent unit (often FEU or feu) however is defined as two TEU. The most common dimensions for a 20-foot (6.1 m) container are 20 feet (6.1 m) long, 8 feet (2.4 m) wide, and 8.5 feet (2.6 m) high, for a volume of 1,360 cubic feet (39 m3). However, both 9.5 feet (2.9 m) tall High cube and 4.25 feet (1.30 m) half height containers are also reckoned as 1 TEU. This gives a volume range of 680 cubic feet (19 m3) to 1,520 cubic feet (43 m3) for one TEU.

While the TEU is not itself a measure of mass, some conclusions can be drawn about the maximum mass that a TEU can represent. The maximum gross mass for a 20-foot (6.1 m) dry cargo container is 24,000 kilograms (53,000 lb). Subtracting the tare mass of the container itself, the maximum amount of cargo per TEU is reduced to approximately 21,600 kilograms (48,000 lb).

Similarly, the maximum gross mass for a 40-foot (12 m) dry cargo container (including the 9.5 feet (2.9 m) high cube container) is 30,480 kilograms (67,200 lb). After correcting for tare weight, this gives a cargo capacity of 26,500 kilograms (58,000 lb).

Twenty-foot, “heavy tested” containers are available for heavy goods such as heavy machinery. These containers allow a maximum weight of 67,200 pounds (30,500 kg), an empty weight of 5,290 pounds (2,400 kg), and a net load of 61,910 pounds (28,080 kg).

Shipping Container ISO Standard

There are five common standard lengths, 20-ft (6.1 m), 40-ft (12.2 m), 45-ft (13.7 m), 48-ft (14.6 m), and 53-ft (16.2 m). United States domestic standard containers are generally 48 ft (15 m) and 53-ft (rail and truck). Container capacity is often expressed in twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU, or sometimes teu). An equivalent unit is a measure of containerized cargo capacity equal to one standard 20 ft (length) × 8 ft (width) container. As this is an approximate measure, the height of the box is not considered, for instance the 9 ft 6 in (2.9 m) High cube and the 4-ft 3-in (1.3 m) half height 20 ft (6.1 m) containers are also called one TEU.

The maximum gross mass for a 20 ft (6.1 m) dry cargo container is 24,000 kg, and for a 40-ft (including the 2.87 m (9 ft 6 in) high cube container), it is 30,480 kg. Allowing for the tare mass of the container, the maximum payload mass is therefore reduced to approximately 22,000 kg for 20 ft (6.1 m), and 27,000 kg for 40 ft (12 m) containers.

The original choice of 8 foot height for ISO containers was made in part to suit a large proportion of railway tunnels, though some had to be deepened. With the arrival of even taller containers, further enlargement is proving necessary.

Roadrailer – Specially-equipped for use in railroad intermodal service

In railroad terminology a Roadrailer or RoadRailer is a highway trailer, or semi-trailer, that is specially-equipped for use in railroad intermodal service.

The advantage of using roadrailers is that due to their construction, the trailers can be pulled directly behind other freight (or even passenger) equipment without the use of trailer flatcars.

Roadrailers first appeared on American railroads in the 1950s. The trailers were built with integrated railroad wheelsets that could be lowered into position when the trailer was pulled behind a train. More modern roadrailers do not include integrated railroad wheels, but ride on specially-manufactured bogies that do double-duty, serving as articulation points between multiple trailers in a train. Each truck is equipped with two fifth wheels and at one end (or both ends) of a convoy there is an adaptor truck equipped with one fifth wheel and one regular AAR Type “E” or Type “F” automatic coupler. Each semi-trailer has one king pin at each end. Because the bogie is significantly lighter than a rail flatcar or well-car, roadrailer freight trains are much lighter and therefore are more energy efficient than traditional intermodal trains.

RoadRailers were built by the Bi-Modal Corporations in the early 1980’s located in West Chester Pennsylvania. The trailiers were built by the Budd Corporation locally with the integration of the wheelsets and railroad braking system done at the nearby Bi-Modal factory. This was a modern up-date of C&O’s Railvan used in the 1950’s. The railroad wheelsets attached to the aft portion of the trailer were lowed pneumatically by activating a simple valve controller on the left rear of the trailer. To transfer from highway mode to rail mode the trailer driver would position the trailer over tracks inlayed into a paved rail yard. First the operator would activate the valve to remove the air from the airbags that supported the trailer in the highway mode. In the fully lowered or squat position, hooks which held the railwheel set up above the road surface released. Then the operator would move the valve to inflate the two large airbags used for rail mode. These rail air bags were similar to those used in passenger rail cars at this time. After being fully transferred, the trailer would be fully level and ready for connection to the next trailer in the train.

Throughout the early 1980’s various railroads experimented with the RoadRailer concept to determine if the equipment would be durable enough to endure railroad use. The positive attributes of the RoadRailer were its exceptionally smooth ride, light weight and low capital costs to set-up a rail yard. Since no flatcars were involved, no crane systems were needed to transfer the trailers between modes. In fact during one demonstration test a train of RoadRailers was broken down in the middle of an industrial street in Portland Oregon which happened to have track in the street demonstrating the flexibility of the system. Another note was that a RoadRailer train did not have a caboose car which at the time was still required for freight trains. A simple box was designed with a yellow strobe light designed to be installed in the unused coupler of the last car. Later, as cabooses were phased out, railroads today use a similar strobe to mark the end of the train.

In 1982, Conrail operated a route between (Railports) Buffalo, Rochester and Highbridge New York in the Bronx called the Empire State Xpress operated by Bi-Modal subsidiary Road-Rail Transportation Company. The concept was to offer customers rapid freight service that would be competitive with traditional over the road service. Dedicated trains left Buffalo and Highbridge each evening arriving early the next morning. The line was eventually shut down after never establishing enough key customers to utilize the service.

The primary reason that the original RoadRailer concept did not catch on was the weight penalty imposed on the trailers because of the attached railroad wheelset. This was resolved in later designs which removed the integrated wheelset by having a dedicated rail bogie assembly that stayed in the rail yard as seen today.

Shipping Container

A shipping container is a metal container that is used for shipping purposes. These containers come in a variance of sizes, and are able to be shipped worldwide. These shipping containers are normally waterproof in most cases, as well as airtight so that your goods are safe from the elements. There are prefixes that are used in the container numbers that are used to determine the carrier name. For example, the ACXU prefix is used in the number of and for the carrier name of Atlantic Cargo. So when tracking your shipping container online, make sure that you use the carrier prefix in your container number for proper verification.

Shipping containers can be expensive to own, so many shipping tracker companies will offer you the option of leasing from a depot or you can rent shipping containers from Express Mobile Storage Solutions. There are 3 main depots: one in Denmark, one in England and one in Sweden. There are 18 companies that lease from Denmark, one in England and one in Sweden. Shipping containers come in many varieties, and it is in your best interest to choose the type or subtype that suits the goods you are shipping.

Dry cargo containers come in lengths from 20 to 45 feet in length. They are available in high cube styles and regular dry cargo container styles. Reefer or refrigerated containers are common, and come in the same lengths as dry cargo containers. These also are offered in 40 and 45 foot high cubes as well. Insulated containers are offered in 20 and 40 foot lengths for those goods that require air tight or temperature controlled shipping. Open top containers are commonly used for goods that are not in danger of expiring due to the elements. These shipping containers come only in 20 and 40 foot lengths. Flat rack containers are available only in 20 and 40 foot lengths, and are offered with collapsible or flush folding sides. The tank shipping containers are only available in 20 foot lengths, and are used for liquids of all kinds purchased in bulk such as oil, milk or gasoline. All container measurements are normally exhibited as metric measurements when dealing with countries other than the United States.

It is important to remember when tracking your shipping container, to include the detention or demurrage times. Detention is when the shipping container isn’t back at the depot in time from the consignee warehouse, while demurrage is when the container that is rented and stored is located with the goods inside the correct port. Some shipping lines will charge storage and electricity on top of demurrage. You can calculate the total demurrage or detention dates by using some website’s calculators. You would need the arrival date, the empty return date and the free days on the rental. You can choose to exclude certain days of the week, and this tool will then give you a total number of days for the detention or demurrage timeframe.

Regardless of the shipping container your company uses, it is important to read through all of the information associated with that container’s owning company if rented or leased. There is always fine print that must be adhered to in order for continued use of the company to go on.

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40' Flat Rack Container: ISO Shipping Containers

by Craig Ellyard

ISO shipping containers are a major innovation in the movement of cargo both inland and overseas. The term ‘ISO’ means ‘International Standards Organization’ and sets the standard for the movement of freight worldwide.

It is essential that shipping containers meet the exacting standards set by the ISO because of the large volume and different types of product they carry. And, not only do they need to be able to bear extremely heavy loads they also must be sound enough to be stacked when being shipped. And, of course, they need to stand up to extremely harsh conditions such as when being transported in rough seas as well as being rust resistant for when they are being transported on heavily salted roads during the winter months.

In order to be cargo worthy most shipping containers are CSC plated. They come in various sizes, usually between 20 and 45 feet in length, though some can be anything up to 100 foot long. There are also varying types of container, such as Steel Dry, Hi-Cube Steel Dry, Open Top and Flat Rack. The type of container to be used will depend on the cargo and the conditions under which it will be carried. The container service provider will also be able to give advice on the best type of unit to be used.

The design of shipping containers depends on how they are to be transported. The larger ones, which are usually constructed from lighter materials, are used mainly for inland – road and rail transportation and are weather proofed – resistant to wind and rain.

As well as being useful for the mass transportation of cargo by road, rail and sea, shipping containers can also be transported by air, though the various air freight lines often produce their own containers, specifically designed for their aircraft.

The mass use of shipping containers has revolutionised the movement of goods worldwide.. A survey of American ports as early as 1998 showed that moving goods in bulk using shipping containers speeded up the operation by up to 2,000 per cent. Not only does does this mean that the product will reach the customer much more quickly, it also saves heavily on transportation and labour costs, leading to the prospect of cheaper prices for the consumer, and bigger profits for the manufacturer.

The usage of ISO shipping containers is an economical, safe and efficient way to transport goods anywhere in the world, hence their ever increasing popularity in carrying products from the factory to the consumer.

Great Lakes shipping container services offers a range of standard and specialist ISO equipment to provide innovative and creative purchase and lease international cargo solutions

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Article Source: ArticleSnatch Free Article Directory

Self Storage Units – Traditional Vs. Portable

By Jason Kay

At some point in everyone’s life they are faced with fact that they have too much stuff lying around and are in need of a self storage unit but which is best to go with, traditional or portable? While you can store your extra belongings in both there are certain advantages to going with a portable unit as opposed to going with a traditional unit.

Here are some of the advantages you will find with storing your stuff in a portable storage unit as opposed to the traditional way:

•Convenience: This is probably the biggest advantage. When you store your things at a traditional storage unit you have to own a truck, rent a truck, or borrow a truck from a friend in order to get your stuff to the storage unit. This can be an unwelcomed hassle. With a portable storage unit however, the portable storage unit company that you decide to go with brings the storage unit right to you and you can then fill it up at your leisure with no time constraints whatsoever.

•No driving: Not only does the portable storage unit company drop off your storage unit to you, they also pick it up when you have filled it up and take it to their climate controlled warehouse where you can store it for as long as you need to. Because they drop off the storage unit and then pick it up that means that you have to do absolutely no driving at all.

•Helps the moving process: many times people will store a number of items because they are moving to a new home and simply don’t know what they will keep and what they will sell or throw away. Once the move is complete and you decide you want to tackle the project of going through the storage unit you again have to either own a truck, rent a truck, or borrow a truck from a friend in order to get you stuff to your new place. Not so with a portable storage unit. When you are ready for your things, you simply call them and they will deliver you belongings to your new home and allow you to unload all the stuff when you want to. Then when the storage unit is empty, call them back and they will pick it up for you once again.

•Saves time: One thing you can never make more of and that is time. A portable storage unit may cost a bit more because they do all the driving, but if you think about all the time you will save, not to mention the gas money, it is still probably in your best interest to go with the portable storage unit.

All of this is not to say that the traditional storage units have no more use, but they have met their match. Unless you only plan on storing a few items that can easily and conveniently be transferred to a traditional storage unit by you, then getting a portable storage unit is really a no brainer.


Step 1: Substantially Reduce Your Costs

There are 2 ways to substantially reduce your costs.

A. You can maintain your current business process and reduce your costs within your existing model.

                    – or –

B.  You can change your business model.


The first thing most people look to do is ‘A‘, reducing their costs within their existing business model.  They do so because it is much easier to maintain the current busines process  rather than change it. Also this type of cost reduction usually provides results quicikly.

We have helped many companies reduce costs and improve effeciencies by providing them with better equipment, better solutions, and better pricing.

Although  ‘A‘ has provided successful and easily measurable reults we have also advocated to our clients that they seriously consider reviewing their current business model ‘B‘ in addition to ‘A‘. it is our belief that the business world is changing and will continue to do so at even a more rapid rate as technologies continue to develop. What once took 10 years to develop now takes 1 year or less. This rapid evolution in business development has also reduced the lifespan of business models. Unless you have a unique product or service that can not be duplicated you will be subject to these great forces of change.

As a result we have not only helped clients reduce their costs but also have helped reshape thier business model to further reduce costs, improve effeciencies and provide huge flexability to change with the rapidly changing business world.

We will be providing these business models on our website shortly.In the meantime if you like access to these models please feel free to contact us directly.

Next time we will take a look at Step 2 :  Maintain or improve customer service while reducing your costs

How To Survive The Coming Economic Tsunami

The Stock Market is Going Up !

Banks are flush with Gov’t cash and are providing easy credit for business.

The worst is over !

Don’t believe this for a minute.

America is still losing over 500,000 jobs per month. Credit is getting tighter. Chrysler is bankrupt. G.M is next.

Yes these companies will be better off in the long as they emerge from bankruptcy protection, but what happens to the 40,000 employees that will be let go both in manufacturing and the dealership network. How will they replace their high wage and benefit package ?  Just as important what about the remaining workers who are having their wages and benefits  cut back ? Finally what about all the suppliers of these companies ? Will it be business as usual for them.? How will their employees be affected ? Are they going to spend at the same rate they have over the last few years ? Of course not. Would you?

What does this mean ?

The worst is yet to come.

Is your business ready ?

Those businesses that will survive and prosper in the new economic reality will have to:

1.   Substantially reduce costs

2.  Maintain or improve customer service despite reducing costs

3.  Reduce debt.

4.  Free up capital

5.  Reduce or eliminate long term obligations

6.  Reduce or eliminate variable costs that you do not control

7.  Remain flexible in order to expand or contract rapidly.

8.  Provide value added services for your clients


Stay tuned as we will show you how we can help you achieve all of the above noted goals and prosper during difficult economic times !