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Panama Canal Continues Modernization

Locomotives are a critical component of Canal operations as they keep transiting ships centered in locks as they move along the waterway. Each new locomotive weighs 55 tons, with a towing capacity of 311.8 kiloNewtons (one kiloNewton is the force required to change the inertia of mass of about 220 lbs, abbreviated as kN).

The Authority has been working under a multi-year contract with Mitsubishi for several years. Construction of the new locomotives will begin in June 2004 with 16 of them to be built in country which will provide new training and technology education for Panamanian workers.

Benefits for the shipping community come in reductions in time needed for vessels to transit locks. New locomotives will have 50% more towing power and a much faster return speed than present models.

Learn more at the Canal’s Web site,

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