A Promising Season for Citrus from South Africa


MSC SHIRLEY in Cape Town © Summer Citrus from South Africa

Success story on MSC and Summer Citrus from South Africa (SCSA), a cooperative of growers promoting citrus from South Africa to the USA

Fruit is one of the most important exports on the African continent. Countries such as Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, Senegal, and Côte d'Ivoire all have notable fruit exports. South Africa is no exception to this. Citrus from the southernmost country on the continent makes its way to consumers around the world – on MSC ships. The citrus fruit season in South Africa runs from May – September, and we work alongside our customers to ensure that their seasonal produce gets to key markets around the world.

To meet the needs of one of our valued customers in the region, Summer Citrus from South Africa (SCSA), we worked to establish a seasonal fortnightly direct service from South Africa to Philadelphia. They are a national leader in citrus export, representing citrus famers and producers in South Africa. Amid the commemoration of their 25th anniversary of their export business, we worked with them to move the first shipment of 40 reefer containers of easy peelers on the MSC SHIRLEY from Cape Town to Philadelphia.

Did you know?
Did you know that South Africa is the second largest exporter of citrus worldwide?

This collaboration with our customers is critical. We aim to connect them to the world – and for Summer Citrus from South Africa, it means ensuring that their produce gets to the right markets. Our USA to South Africa service will do a direct call into Philadelphia to discharge South African citrus. The direct Philadelphia call will be every second week and will cover the citrus season: weeks 18 – 38. This is a hugely important route for our customers, as importing citrus to the United States can be a challenge.

Suhanra Conradie, CEO of Summer Citrus from South Africa, said: “Summer Citrus from South Africa and our US collaborators welcome a direct seasonal container service back into Packer Avenue, Philadelphia, PA during the summer months. The port of Philadelphia is our main point of entrance and distribution hub of our products throughout the US and has become an imperative part of SCSA since it’s conception 25 seasons ago.”

One notable shift is that historically, SCSA has exported using bulk shipping rather than containerized shipping. This shift, on their 25th anniversary, represents a step towards the future. Suhanra added that “Our container service to Philadelphia ensures a long-term and sustainable shipping solution for our growth. This program has increased nearly 2,5 times over the last few seasons, and we fully anticipate growth in the future. As we are shipping specialized reefer cargo to the world’s most demanding market, everyone on our team must stay sharp to successfully execute this program with excellence. We are so grateful to MSC and all of our collaborators for being part of our success story.”

Ferdinando Cibelli, Senior Vice President North America services, based at MSC’S Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, worked alongside the customer to ensure their full satisfaction. He added that “Here at MSC we pride ourselves on flexibility and a service with the human touch. That includes awareness of the most important seasonal goods that our customers are shipping with us and adapting our services to best meet their needs. Being able to create these seasonal services in this way is a great benefit for everyone.

We also spoke to Ian Fairlie, the reefer expert on that project based in South Africa. He noted that “Thanks to the constant investment from MSC into reefer technology, as well as our market growth, we have been able to continually expand our services to clients shipping fresh fruits. This culminates in services like our fortnightly direct South Africa-Philadelphia, which provides our customers with the top-level service they want with our ability to be flexible and adapt to seasonal demand.”

At MSC we adapt and offer flexibility for our customers and find the right solutions for everyone. While moving cargo from point A to point B can often seem easy at first glance, we know that it can quickly get very complicated – and that’s why we work to establish the MSC touch.

« Here at MSC we pride ourselves on flexibility and a service with the human touch.  »

Ferdinando Cibelli Senior Vice President North America services