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GE Transportation helps smooth sailing through the Panama Canal


Celebrating a century of operation this year, the Panama Canal is a very busy 48-mile-long global commercial waterway.  The canal operates round the clock 365 days a year moving 40 ships per day from Atlantic to Pacific and back.  The canal’s tug fleet is essential to keep the traffic flowing smoothly. 

The work horses of the tug fleet are powered by GE Transportation’s marine engines.  These tugs reliably push and pull huge seagoing ships 24/7 into proper position to travel through the locks.

The Panama Canal Authority placed its first orders for GE Engines in 2008 and 2009 for 28 12-cylinder V228 marine engines to power 14 tugs.

The impressive performance record for these tugs led the Panama Canal Authority to place another order in 2012 for 28 8-cylinder L250 engines to power an additional 14 tugs.  At the time this was GE Transportation’s largest marine order in history.

Ten of these tugs are in service today and four more will join the fleet by year end.  

These newest tugs, fully supported by GE Transportation’s local distributor, Marinsa International, already have earned a reputation for high reliability, reduced fuel use and a lower life-cycle cost

The Panama Canal is now planning to expand its capacity with widening, dredging and many new control and safety technologies.  No doubt GE Transportation powered tugs also will be an important part of its future.


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