South African citrus will be more readily available west of the Mississippi this summer, thanks to an agreement between the industry and a leading produce rail service.

South African citrus to be shipped on Railex cars

Riverhead, N.Y.-based Railex LLC will ship South African citrus west from the East Coast, according to a news release from the Citrusdal, South Africa-based Western Cape Citrus Producers Forum.

Western retailers will have South African fruit six days after it reaches the Port of Philadelphia, according to the release.

In 2009, South African citrus sales from the Midwest and West made up about 35% of the industry’s U.S. total, according to the forum.

For 2010, officials expect it to be 50% of all sales.

Railex ships fruits and vegetables back and forth from Delano, Calif., and Wallula, Wash., and Rotterdam, N.Y.