Panamax is a ship having the maximum permissible dimensions (length, breadth, and draft) for transiting the Panama Canal, with a dead-weight capacity of about 75,000 tons.

Panamax (Wikipedia)
This article is about the size criteria for ships travelling through the Panama Canal. For the medicine named "Panamax", see Paracetamol.
General characteristics Panamax
Tonnage: 52,500 DWT
Length: 289.56 m (950 ft)
Beam: 32.31 m (106 ft)
Height: 57.91 m (190 ft)
Draft: 12.04 m (39.5 ft)
Capacity: 5,000 TEU
Notes: Opened 1914
General characteristics New Panamax
Tonnage: 120,000 DWT
Length: 366 m (1,201 ft)
Beam: 49 m (161 ft)
Height: 57.91 m (190 ft)
Draft: 15.2 m (50 ft)
Capacity: 13,000 TEU
Notes: Opened 2016
The two ships seen here seem almost to be touching the walls of the Miraflores Locks.

Panamax and New Panamax (or Neopanamax) are terms for the size limits for ships travelling through the Panama Canal. Formally, these limits and requirements are published by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), titled "Vessel Requirements". These requirements also describe topics like exceptional dry seasonal limits, propulsion, communications, and detailed ship design.

The allowable size is limited by the width and length of the available lock chambers, by the depth of water in the canal, and by the height of the Bridge of the Americas since that bridge's construction. These dimensions give clear parameters for ships destined to traverse the Panama Canal and have influenced the design of cargo ships, naval vessels, and passenger ships.

Panamax specifications have been in effect since the opening of the canal in 1914. In 2009 the ACP published the New Panamax specification which came into effect when the canal's third set of locks, larger than the original two, opened on 26 June 2016. Ships that do not fall within the Panamax-sizes are called post-Panamax.

The increasing prevalence of vessels of the maximum size is a problem for the canal, as a Panamax ship is a tight fit that requires precise control of the vessel in the locks, possibly resulting in longer lock time, and requiring that these ships transit in daylight. Because the largest ships traveling in opposite directions cannot pass safely within the Culebra Cut, the canal effectively operates an alternating one-way system for these ships.

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