Port Canaveral, FL – The Hapag-Lloyd container ship Al Bahia arrived at Port Canaveral yesterday to begin the required conversion process to reflag the vessel in the United States. The Al Bahia will be renamed the Delaware Express and is the first of five Hapag-Lloyd container vessels owned and operated by the global shipping giant scheduled to undergo the U.S. reflagging process in Port Canaveral over the next several months. Once the U.S. reflagging process is completed, each vessel will be included in the federal Maritime Security Program (MSP) and made available for use when necessary by the U.S. government while it continues to operate commercially in international trade.
The ships are among the largest container vessels to call on the Port, with a capacity of approximately 6900 TEUs. The four additional Hapag-Lloyd vessels scheduled for the U.S. reflagging by mid-August include the Al Kharj to be renamed the Colorado Express, the Al Rawdah which will become the Hudson Express, the Al Hilal to be renamed the Missouri Express, and the Mayssan which will become the Potomac Express.
Upon arrival, the ships will undergo extensive upgrades to be compliant and qualify as U.S. flagged ships under the Maritime Security Program. The program works to maintain a fleet of commercially viable military useful merchant ships for international trade. Each ship will have an American crew of about 20.
“This is a great project for our Port, and we are excited to be a partner in this process to strengthen the U.S. flag fleet,” stated Capt. John Murray, Port CEO. “As we welcome the Al Bahia, we thank Hapag-Lloyd USA, LLC for its confidence in our port’s ability to work with them on their reflagging project. It may not be a cruise ship, but it’s great to see this magnificent vessel alongside our berth.”