The Brazilian Estrada de Ferro Vitória a Minas required more powerful diesel locomotives than the previously used EMD G16U at the end of the 1960s. So far, the ore trains with up to 150 cars have been pulled by two or four G16Us and there are plans to pull them with just one or two single-engined locomotives in the future. At the time, EMD's most powerful single-engined diesel locomotive available was the SD45 with the 3,600 hp 20-cylinder. However, it turned out to be problematic for use with the EFVM that due to the meter gauge used, the traction motors were smaller and therefore not powerful enough to implement the full engine power with a total of six traction motors.
The solution was to use four-axle bogies similar to those used on the DD35 or DDA40X, so that each traction motor only had to provide an eighth of the total power. This resulted in the DDM45, of which a total of 83 were delivered to the EFVM from 1970 onwards. The type designation was made up of the wheel arrangement DD, M for a different track gauge and the SD45 as the basic model. The locomotives could each replace two of their predecessors and were more economical to use. They usually drove double-headed with 160 ore wagons with a total weight of 12,000 tons or triple-headed with 240 wagons and 18,000 tons. In terms of performance, they were surpassed from 1991 by the newly arrived General Electric Dash 8 with 4,000 hp. Shortly before, two examples had been equipped with more modern Caterpillar four-stroke engines, but due to the high costs of the conversion, no further ones were converted and the two were later dismantled. Some engines came to the private FCA after the turn of the millennium, but were returned to the EFVM in 2008.