Net Capacity

Today’s container ships are over 1,300 feet long, which is about 16 times larger than vessels from 70 years ago. And there is news that South Korea is attempting to build the largest container ship in the World. For shippers, this type of information can be vital. It turns out that among the many factors that determine your cargo rate when you are looking to book an international shipment is the net capacity or the cargo capacity of the vessel. This type of capacity limit does not have anything really to do with the weight of your shipment, which in itself is a different factor, but rather the volume or space for containers on an ocean freight-shipping vessel.

Every form of transportation has some form of a carrying capacity due to space limitations. For ocean freight vessels, this type of capacity is measured in TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit), which determines the exact number of twenty-foot containers a particular ship can carry. And this doesn’t factor in height; rather this unit measures the length of the containers. This is important for shippers so that they can understand how their containers are booked. For larger containers that are forty-feet long, some vessels can also be calculated in terms of FEU (forty-foot equivalent unit).

Sometimes net capacity can be best described in terms of tonnage, which is measurements all of the space on the ship. The difference is that net capacity is simply the maximum amount of space attributed to shipping containers on a vessel.