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Thursday, June 20 2019 @ 03:19 AM UTC

Panama Canal Completes Infrastructure Enhancement

Canal Daily Operation
Electric Locomotive
Electric Locomotive "Mule" of the Panama Canal
PANAMA CITY, Panama, September 24, 2007 – Locomotives play a pivotal role in the operation of the Panama Canal locks. Last week, at a ceremony at Gatun Locks, the Canal marked the completion of its project to replace all of the towing tracks on which the locomotives travel. The Panama Canal's locomotive tow tracks run parallel to each side of the Canal's lock chambers. The tow tracks enable locomotive units or "mules" as they are called, to move alongside transiting vessels, affixed by wire cables, to maintain a ship's position during passage through Canal locks. Replacing the tracks, therefore, will increase the efficiency of transits at the Canal. (more)

"Well-run locks are critical to providing our customers with safe, reliable and efficient service. Ultimately, our goal in rehabilitating these tracks is to decrease the time a vessel spends in each lockage, increase efficiency and augment capacity," ACP Vice President of Operations Manuel Benitez said. In total, the ACP has replaced 50,000 feet of tow track.

The new track, laid at the Canal’s Miraflores, Pedro Miguel and Gatun Locks, will enhance service, in part because the old tracks needed continual maintenance. “This is the first time we have overhauled the entire rail system. This upgrade – carried out without any significant service interruptions – helps us continue to offer safe, reliable and efficient service upon which our customers rely,” said Mr. Benitez. “In addition, this new track will increase efficiency because our new locomotives are built and designed to travel on it.”

About the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) The ACP is the autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the ACP is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors. For more information, please refer to the ACP's Web site: For Panama Canal video, please visit

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