Transport in Panama

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Transport in Panama is fairly well developed. The majority of the trips are done by car while a great part in public transport. The public transportation system is in need of modernization and other improvements.

Railways[edit]

Main articles: Rail transport in Panama, Panama Railway

Mules manouvring a ship through Panama Canal locks


total: 355 km
broad gauge 5 ft (1,524 mm): all converted to standard gauge (2000), but for the ship handling tracks along the Panama Canal locks (for locomotives called mules)
standard gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm): 76 km, converted from broad gauge (2000)
narrow gauge 3 ft (914 mm): 279 km (No longer in service)[1]

Road system[edit]


total: 11,258 km
paved: 3,783 km (including 30 km of expressways)
unpaved: 7,475 km (1999 est.)

Highways are somewhat well developed for Central America. In Panama City are 6 highways working being that the Panama—Arraijan Bridge of the Americas, Panama-Arraijan Centennial Bridge, Arraijan-Chorrera, Corredor Norte, Corredor Sur, and Autopista Alberto Motta

Panama's roads, traffic and transportation systems are generally safe, but traffic lights often do not exist, even at busy intersections. Driving is often hazardous and demanding due to dense traffic, undisciplined driving habits, poorly maintained streets, and a lack of effective signs and traffic signals. On roads where poor lighting and driving conditions prevail, night driving is difficult. Night driving is particularly hazardous on the old Panama City – Colon highway.[2]

Buses and taxis are not always maintained in a safe operating condition due to lack of regulatory enforcement. Since 2007, auto insurance is mandatory in Panama.[3] Traffic in Panama moves on the right, and Panamanian law requires that drivers and passengers wear seat belts.[2]

Flooding during the April to December rainy season occasionally makes city streets impassable and washes out some roads in the interior of the country. In addition, rural areas are often poorly maintained and lack illumination at night. Such roads are generally less traveled and the availability of emergency roadside assistance is very limited. Road travel is more dangerous during the rainy season and in the interior from Carnival through Good Friday. Carnival starts the Saturday prior to Ash Wednesday and goes on for four days.[2]

Waterways[edit]

800 km navigable by shallow draft vessels; 82 km Panama Canal

Pipelines[edit]

crude oil 130 km

Ports and harbors[edit]

Atlantic Ocean[edit]

Pacific Ocean[edit]

Other[edit]

Merchant marine[edit]


total: 5,005 ships (1,000 gross register tons (GRT) or over) totaling 122,960,929 GRT/183,615,337 metric tons deadweight (DWT)
ships by type: (June 2005 Update est.)


note: a flag of convenience registry; includes ships from 71 countries among which are (2005 update)


Foreign Owned Ships: 4,388

  • Andorra 1
  • Argentina 9
  • Australia 3
  • Bahamas 1
  • Belgium 14
  • Brazil 1
  • Canada 1
  • Chile 14
  • China 310
  • Colombia 5
  • Croatia 1
  • Cuba 9
  • Cyprus 7
  • Denmark 13
  • Egypt 15
  • France 7
  • Germany 23
  • Greece 546
  • Hong Kong 159
  • India 8
  • Indonesia 46
  • Ireland 1
  • Isle of Man 2
  • Israel 3
  • Italy 8
  • Japan 1814
  • Jordan 9
  • Latvia 2
  • Lithuania 5
  • Malaysia 11
  • Maldives 1
  • Malta 1
  • Mexico 4
  • Monaco 8
  • Netherlands 22
  • New Zealand 1
  • Nigeria 6
  • Norway 66
  • Pakistan 1
  • Peru 13
  • Philippines 15
  • Poland 19
  • Portugal 8
  • Romania 13
  • Russia 4
  • Saudi Arabia 4
  • Singapore 54
  • South Africa 3
  • South Korea 292
  • Spain 41
  • Sri Lanka 1
  • Sudan 1
  • Sweden 4
  • Switzerland 188
  • Syria 7
  • Taiwan 301
  • Thailand 10
  • Trinidad & Tobago 1
  • Tunisia 1
  • Turkey 18
  • Ukraine 9
  • UAE 83
  • United Kingdom 29
  • United States 88
  • Venezuela 20
  • Vietnam 2
  • Yemen 1

Airports[edit]

117 (2006 est.)

Airports - with paved runways[edit]

total: 53

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 5

914 to 1,523 m: 18

under 914 m: 28 (2006 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways[edit]


total: 64
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 53 (2006 est.)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the CIA World Factbook.