Panama, April 11, 2002 – Miraflores Locks celebrates the arrival of the ten new towing locomotives. Miraflores is the first set of locks to have a completely brand new fleet of these powerful machines.
The Panama Canal recently received ten cutting-edge towing locomotives manufactured in Japan, completing a fleet of 26 units tasked to assist vessels safely and expeditiously through Miraflores Locks.
The arrival of the new machines marks the completion of the first stage of the modernization program concerning locomotives.
The 1997 contract for manufacturing new locomotives was awarded to Mitsubishi Corporation and consisted of a strategic alliance between Kawasaki and Toyo Denki.
The first eight prototypes were delivered in August 1999 at a cost of $2.3 million each. Following a six-month trial period, the new locomotives were put to work at the Miraflores Locks and another 18 were commissioned. Eight new locomotives were delivered to Miraflores Locks in August 2001 and cost $2.1 million each.
The newest locomotives each weigh 50 tons and have a maximum towing capacity of 70,000 pounds, like their predecessors. However, they will be able to reach maximum towing speeds of 5 mph and return speeds of up to 10 mph. The entire Panama Canal locomotive fleet will be augmented to 100 units to meet the increased traffic demand. With the recent arrival of ten new units, the Panama Canal advances its goal of continually modernizing its equipment to optimize its services.