Long ton

The long ton,[1] also known as the imperial ton or displacement ton,[1][2] is the name for the unit called the "ton" in the avoirdupois system of weights or Imperial system of measurements. It was standardised in the 13th century. It is used in the United Kingdom and several other Commonwealth of Nations countries alongside the mass-based metric tonne defined in 1799, as well as in the United States for bulk commodities.

Long ton
Unit systemImperial units, U.S. customary units
Unit ofMass
In base units2,240 lb
1  in ...... is equal to ...
   SI base units   1,016.047 kg
   Metric tons   1.016047 t
   Short tons   1.12 short tons (exactly)

It is not to be confused with the short ton, a unit of weight equal to 2,000 pounds (907.18474 kg) used in the United States, and in Canada before metrication, also referred to simply as a "ton".

Unit definition

A long ton is defined as exactly 2,240 pounds. The long ton arises from the traditional British measurement system: A long ton is 20 long hundredweight (cwt), each of which is 8 stone (1 stone = 14 pounds). Thus a long ton is 20 × 8 × 14 lb = 2,240 lb.

Unit equivalences

A long ton, also called the weight ton (W/T),[1] imperial ton, or displacement ton, is equal to:

  • 2,240 pounds or 1,016 kilograms or 1.016 metric tons
  • Exactly 12% more than the 2,000 pounds of the North American short ton, because of the use of 20 long hundredweight (112lb) rather than 20 short hundredweight (100lb)
  • the weight of 35 cubic feet (0.99 m3)[2] of salt water with a density of 64 pounds per cubic foot (1.03 g/cm3)[1]

United Kingdom

To comply with the practices of the European Union, the British Imperial ton was explicitly excluded from use for trade by the United Kingdom's Weights and Measures Act of 1985.[3][4] The measure used since then is metric ton, identified through the word "tonne".

If still used for measurement then the word "ton", is taken to refer to an imperial or long ton.[5]

North America

In the United States, the long ton is commonly used in measuring the displacement of ships, the volume-to-carrying-weight of fuels, and in trade of baled commodities[1] and bulk goods like iron ore and elemental sulfur. The long ton was the unit prescribed for warships by the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 – for example battleships were limited to a displacement of 35,000 long tons (36,000 t; 39,000 short tons).

International Trade

The long ton is traditionally used as the unit of weight in international contracts for many bulk goods and commodities.

See also

  • Short ton, equal to 2,000 lb (907.2 kg).
  • Ton
  • Tonnage, volume measurement used in maritime shipping, originally based on 100 cubic feet (2.83 m3).
  • Tonne, also known as a metric ton (t), equal to 1,000 kg (2,205 lb) or 1 megagram.


  1. "Definitions, Tonnages and Equivalents". Military Sealift Fleet Support Command Ships. Archived from the original on 24 July 2017. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  2. Dictionary.com - "a unit for measuring the displacement of a vessel, equal to a long ton of 2240 pounds (1016 kg) or 35 cu. ft. (1 cu. m) of seawater."
  3. legislation.gov.uk: Weights and Measures Act 1985 Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  4. A Dictionary of Weights, Measures, and Units, edited by Donald Fenna, Oxford University Press
  5. "Weights and Measures Act 1985". legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 13 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
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