Top Sand Exporters by Country

Gobi Desert in northern China (courtesy of Pixabay.com)

Gobi Desert, northern China

Natural sand exports by country totaled US$1.7 billion in 2018. That dollar amount reflects an 11.6% pop for all sand shippers over the five-year period starting in 2014. Year over year, the value of exported natural sands appreciated 9.2% from 2017 to 2018.

Finer than gravel but coarser than silt, sand is material comprised of finely granulated rock and mineral particles. Sand is also defined as a textural class of soil that contains more than 85% sand-sized particles by mass.

Sand has a high variety of uses. Sandy soils are ideal for agricultural crops such as watermelons, peaches and peanuts. Sand is also added to clay in the manufacture of bricks, while silica from sand is a key component of glass. Mixing sand with cement and lime is often used in masonry construction, and sand can be mixed with paint to create a textured finish for walls, ceilings and non-slip floor surfaces.

Among continents, Europe sold the highest dollar worth of exported sands during 2018 with shipments valued at $758.4 million or 44.2% of the global total. In second place were North American exporters at 33.9% while 10.3% of worldwide sand shipments originated from Asia. Smaller percentages came from Oceania (6%) led by Australia, Africa (4.8%) then Latin America (0.9%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.

The 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix is 2505 for natural sands of all kinds except gold- and platinum-bearing sands. Drilling down to the more detailed 6-digit codes, well over two-thirds (71.3%) of overall exported sand in 2018 was silica and quartz sands. This compares with over a fourth (28.7%) for all other natural sands.

Top Sand Exports by Country

Top 15

Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of sand during 2018.

  1. United States: US$534.1 million (31.1% of total sand exports)
  2. Netherlands: $206 million (12%)
  3. Germany: $148.9 million (8.7%)
  4. Belgium: $138 million (8%)
  5. Australia: $101.5 million (5.9%)
  6. France: $54.7 million (3.2%)
  7. Cambodia: $34.6 million (2%)
  8. Egypt: $32.6 million (1.9%)
  9. Canada: $31.6 million (1.8%)
  10. Taiwan: $30.6 million (1.8%)
  11. Jordan: $25.6 million (1.5%)
  12. Mozambique: $25 million (1.5%)
  13. Norway: $22.5 million (1.3%)
  14. Spain: $21.8 million (1.3%)
  15. Vietnam: $20.6 million (1.2%)

By value, the listed 15 countries shipped 83.2% of all sand exported in 2018.

Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing sand exporters since 2014 were: Cambodia (up 4,620%), Mozambique (up 1,840%), Australia (up 1,776%) and Jordan (up 432%).

Four leading countries posted declines in their international sand sales namely: Vietnam (down -32%), Taiwan (down -17.6%), Germany (down -7.3%) and France (down -0.8%).

Advantages

The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for sand during 2018. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the surplus between the value of each country’s exported sand and its import purchases for that same commodity.

  1. United States: US$460.2 million (net export surplus up 15.5% since 2014)
  2. Australia: $99.3 million (up 7141.5%)
  3. Netherlands: $61.1 million (up 60.6%)
  4. Germany: $50.1 million (down -31%)
  5. Cambodia: $34.4 million (up 4935.4%)
  6. Egypt: $31.6 million (up 46%)
  7. Jordan: $24.7 million (up 473.4%)
  8. Mozambique: $24.7 million (reversing a -$1.2 million deficit)
  9. Tunisia: $18.8 million (up 1271.2%)
  10. Bulgaria: $12.9 million (down -12.4%)
  11. Portugal: $12.8 million (up 385.5%)
  12. Poland: $11.1 million (up 111.8%)
  13. Vietnam: $9.4 million (down -65%)
  14. Denmark: $8.5 million (down -38.3%)
  15. Pakistan: $7.4 million (up 5%)

The United States of America earned the highest surplus in the international trade of sand. In turn, this positive cashflow confirms America’s strong competitive advantage for this specific product category.

Opportunities

The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for sand during 2018. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the deficit between the value of each country’s imported sand purchases and its exports for that same commodity.

  1. Singapore: -US$365.7 million (net export deficit up 17% since 2014)
  2. Canada: -$262.3 million (up 30.7%)
  3. Japan: -$81.3 million (down -0.6%)
  4. China: -$80.9 million (reversing a $63 million surplus)
  5. Mexico: -$68.9 million (down -29.9%)
  6. Italy: -$61.2 million (up 5.7%)
  7. South Korea: -$53.5 million (down -0.9%)
  8. Switzerland: -$49.7 million (down -20.7%)
  9. Taiwan: -$38.9 million (down -41.4%)
  10. Turkey: -$34.4 million (up 34.3%)
  11. Luxembourg: -$27.3 million (down -4.1%)
  12. Palestine: -$25.3 million (up 97.9%)
  13. Philippines: -$23.7 million (up 122.4%)
  14. Argentina: -$21 million (down -61.1%)
  15. United Kingdom: -$20.2 million (up 41.1%)

Singapore incurred the highest deficit in the international trade of sand. In turn, this negative cashflow highlights Singapore’s competitive disadvantage for this specific product category but also signals opportunities for sand-supplying countries that help satisfy the powerful demand.

Companies

Sand Exporting Companies

Below are sand stock companies located in the United States that represent established players engaged in the international trade of sand. The home country for each is shown within parenthesis.

  • Emerge Energy
  • Fairmount Santrol
  • Hi-Crush
  • US Silica

According to global trading platform Alibaba, the following suppliers are also examples of sand-trading exporters. The home-country location for each business is shown within parentheses:

  • BMS Factories (Saudi Arabia)
  • Cairo Fresh for Import/Export (Egypt)
  • Franzavian Import/Export (Philippines)
  • Lingshou County Zhongrun Minerals (China)
  • Noebel Ventures LLC (United States)
  • Ploma Enterprise Co (Taiwan)
  • Qaim Rasoul Import/Expor Co (Cambodia)
  • UNELO (France)
  • VietGo Company (Vietnam)
  • Wamenya Trading (Netherlands)


 

Searchable List of Sand Exporting Countries in 2018

You can change the presentation order by clicking the triangle icon at the top of the columns.

RankExporterSand Exports (US$)%World Total
1.United States$534.1 million31.1%
2.Netherlands$206 million12%
3.Germany$148.9 million8.7%
4.Belgium$138 million8%
5.Australia$101.5 million5.9%
6.France$54.7 million3.2%
7.Cambodia$34.6 million2%
8.Egypt$32.6 million1.9%
9.Canada$31.6 million1.8%
10.Taiwan$30.6 million1.8%
11.Jordan$25.6 million1.5%
12.Mozambique$25 million1.5%
13.Norway$22.5 million1.3%
14.Spain$21.8 million1.3%
15.Vietnam$20.6 million1.2%
16.Tunisia$19.2 million1.1%
17.Portugal$18.9 million1.1%
18.Poland$18 million1.1%
19.United Kingdom$18 million1%
20.Mexico$15.9 million0.9%
21.Italy$15.1 million0.9%
22.Bulgaria$14 million0.8%
23.Denmark$13.7 million0.8%
24.Czech Republic$13.2 million0.8%
25.Malaysia$9.5 million0.6%
26.Sweden$9.4 million0.5%
27.Austria$8.2 million0.5%
28.Pakistan$7.8 million0.5%
29.China$7.6 million0.4%
30.Ukraine$6.6 million0.4%
31.Myanmar (Burma)$6.3 million0.4%
32.Turkey$6.1 million0.4%
33.Hungary$5.5 million0.3%
34.Russia$4.7 million0.3%
35.Brazil$4.6 million0.3%
36.Saudi Arabia$4 million0.2%
37.Serbia$3.7 million0.2%
38.Philippines$3.6 million0.2%
39.Slovakia$3.4 million0.2%
40.Japan$3.3 million0.2%
41.Slovenia$3.2 million0.2%
42.Hong Kong$2.7 million0.2%
43.Kazakhstan$2.7 million0.2%
44.Colombia$2.3 million0.1%
45.Finland$2.1 million0.1%
46.Romania$2 million0.1%
47.Guyana$1.9 million0.1%
48.South Korea$1.9 million0.1%
49.Bahamas$1.8 million0.1%
50.Israel$1.7 million0.1%
51.United Arab Emirates$1.7 million0.1%
52.South Africa$1.5 million0.1%
53.Bangladesh$1.5 million0.1%
54.Senegal$1.5 million0.1%
55.Lithuania$1.4 million0.1%
56.India$1.3 million0.1%
57.Ireland$1.1 million0.1%
58.New Zealand$1.1 million0.1%
59.Morocco$1.1 million0.1%
60.Thailand$1 million0.1%
61.Peru$995,0000.1%
62.Luxembourg$911,0000.1%
63.Montserrat$907,0000.1%
64.Costa Rica$748,0000.04%
65.Greece$686,0000.04%
66.Singapore$653,0000.04%
67.Chile$629,0000.04%
68.Belarus$550,0000.03%
69.Tanzania$514,0000.03%
70.Laos$413,0000.02%
71.Croatia$386,0000.02%
72.Switzerland$383,0000.02%
73.Estonia$369,0000.02%
74.Georgia$359,0000.02%
75.Latvia$328,0000.02%
76.Bosnia/Herzegovina$324,0000.02%
77.Guatemala$315,0000.02%
78.Nigeria$254,0000.01%
79.Andorra$208,0000.01%
80.Argentina$203,0000.01%
81.Fiji$190,0000.01%
82.Faroe Islands$179,0000.01%
83.Mauritania$178,0000.01%
84.Kenya$165,0000.01%
85.Panama$139,0000.01%
86.Sri Lanka$138,0000.01%
87.North Macedonia$101,0000.01%
88.Dominica$79,0000.005%
89.Zambia$78,0000.005%
90.Iran$73,0000.004%
91.Kyrgyzstan$64,0000.004%
92.Suriname$47,0000.003%
93.Trinidad/Tobago$43,0000.003%
94.Oman$41,0000.002%
95.Tajikistan$38,0000.002%
96.Curaçao$20,0000.001%
97.Bahrain$20,0000.001%
98.French Polynesia$18,0000.001%
99.Namibia$13,0000.001%
100.Lebanon$11,0000.001%
101.Lesotho$10,0000.001%
102.Papua New Guinea$9,0000.001%
103.Democr. Rep. Congo$8,0000.0005%
104.Gabon$6,0000.0003%
105.Uzbekistan$6,0000.0003%
106.Venezuela$4,0000.0002%
107.Uganda$4,0000.0002%
108.Eswatini$4,0000.0002%
109.El Salvador$4,0000.0002%
110.Equatorial Guinea$4,0000.0002%
111.Azerbaijan$4,0000.0002%
112.Ivory Coast$3,0000.0002%
113.Kuwait$3,0000.0002%
114.Malta$3,0000.0002%
115.Montenegro$3,0000.0002%
116.Moldova$2,0000.0001%
117.Bonaire/St Eustatius/Saba$2,0000.0001%
118.Mauritius$2,0000.0001%
119.Malawi$2,0000.0001%
120.Iraq$2,0000.0001%
121.Algeria$2,0000.0001%
122.Cameroon$2,0000.0001%
123.Eritrea$2,0000.0001%
124.Dominican Republic$2,0000.0001%
125.Ecuador$2,0000.0001%
126.Cuba$2,0000.0001%
127.Ghana$2,0000.0001%
128.Ethiopia$1,0000.0001%
129.Benin$1,0000.0001%
130.Congo$1,0000.0001%
131.Botswana$1,0000.0001%
132.Barbados$1,0000.0001%
133.Angola$1,0000.0001%
134.Indonesia$1,0000.0001%
135.Honduras$1,0000.0001%
136.Mali$1,0000.0001%
137.Liberia$1,0000.0001%
138.New Caledonia$1,0000.0001%
139.Nicaragua$1,0000.0001%
140.Somalia$1,0000.0001%
141.Syrian Arab Republic$1,0000.0001%
142.Burkina Faso$1,0000.0001%

See also Cement Exports by Country, Iron Exports by Country and Top Nickel Exporters by Country

Research Sources:
Alibaba, Supplier showroom for Sand. Accessed on September 17, 2018

Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 5, 2019

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 5, 2019

The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on June 5, 2019

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on June 5, 2019

Wikipedia, Sand. Accessed on September 17, 2018