During the latest yearly period, the value of exported natural sands rose 9.9% from $1.56 billion during 2020.
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.
In 2021, the world’s top 5 sand exporters are the United States of America, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Malaysia. Together, these 5 main exporters of sand were responsible for over three-fifths (61.4%) of the total value of natural sand shipped onto international markets.
Among continents, suppliers in Europe sold the highest dollar amount of exported sands during 2021 with shipments valued at $802.8 million or 46.9% of the global total. In second place were North American exporters generating 30.5% worth of sales while another 14.5% of worldwide sand shipments originated from Asia.
Smaller percentages came from Africa (6.6%), Latin America (1%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania (0.4%) led by Australia.
For research purposes, the 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix is 2505 for natural sands of all kinds except gold- and platinum-bearing sands.
Top Sand Exports by Country
Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of sand during 2021.
- United States: US$475.3 million (27.8% of total sand exports)
- Netherlands: $214.3 million (12.5%)
- Germany: $170.6 million (10%)
- Belgium: $126.4 million (7.4%)
- Malaysia: $64 million (3.7%)
- Mozambique: $63.5 million (3.7%)
- France: $59.3 million (3.5%)
- Taiwan: $47.7 million (2.8%)
- Saudi Arabia: $38.3 million (2.2%)
- Portugal: $32.2 million (1.9%)
- Vietnam: $30.6 million (1.8%)
- Canada: $27.8 million (1.6%)
- Egypt: $26.6 million (1.6%)
- Poland: $23.4 million (1.4%)
- Denmark: $21.5 million (1.3%)
By value, the listed 15 countries shipped 83% of global sand exports in 2021.
Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing sand exporters year over year were: Vietnam (up 105.7%), Mozambique (up 84.2%), Portugal (up 39.6%) and Denmark (up 36.3%).
Two main countries posted declines in their exported sand sales, namely Egypt (down -20.5%) and Malaysia (down -10.3%).
Countries Generating Largest Trade Surpluses from Sand
The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for sand during 2021. 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.
- United States: US$401.6 million (net export surplus up 32.3% since 2020)
- Germany: $83.1 million (up 26.8%)
- Netherlands: $68.4 million (up 0.6%)
- Mozambique: $63 million (up 85.4%)
- Malaysia: $36.8 million (down -29%)
- Saudi Arabia: $33.9 million (up 22.5%)
- Egypt: $25.3 million (down -21.1%)
- Portugal: $19.6 million (up 36.8%)
- Denmark: $18.8 million (up 43.6%)
- Vietnam: $16.8 million (up 153.5%)
- Bulgaria: $15.5 million (up 10.2%)
- France: $10.6 million (down -2.1%)
- Tunisia: $10.5 million (up 29.5%)
- Poland: $8.3 million (up 40.4%)
- South Africa: $7.9 million (up 1181.4%)
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.
Countries Causing Largest Trade Deficits from Sand
The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for sand during 2021. 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.
- Singapore: -US$381.3 million (net export deficit up 264.5% since 2020)
- Canada: -$199.6 million (up 30.4%)
- China: -$184.8 million (up 15.1%)
- Italy: -$72.3 million (up 40%)
- Japan: -$66.3 million (up 4.7%)
- Mexico: -$50.9 million (up 64.8%)
- Switzerland: -$48.1 million (up 11.3%)
- South Korea: -$45 million (down -1.2%)
- Turkey: -$44.1 million (up 40.6%)
- Taiwan: -$43.5 million (up 34.7%)
- Belgium: -$31.7 million (up 59.2%)
- Luxembourg: -$24.2 million (up 9.7%)
- Thailand: -$22.8 million (up 73.2%)
- United Arab Emirates: -$22.8 million (down -67.5%)
- United Kingdom: -$20.6 million (up 16.6%)
Overtaking mainland China in 2021, Singapore incurred the highest deficit in the international trade of sand. In turn, this negative cashflow highlights both countries’ competitive disadvantages for this specific product category but also signals opportunities for sand-supplying countries that help satisfy the powerful demand notably from Singapore, Canada and China.
Sand Exporting Companies
Below are sand stock companies located in the United States that represent established players engaged in the international trade of sand. The home country for each is shown within parenthesis.
- Emerge Energy
- Fairmount Santrol
- US Silica
According to global trading platform Alibaba, the following suppliers are also examples of sand-trading exporters. The home-country location for each business is shown within parentheses.
- BMS Factories (Saudi Arabia)
- Cairo Fresh for Import/Export (Egypt)
- Franzavian Import/Export (Philippines)
- Lingshou County Zhongrun Minerals (China)
- Noebel Ventures LLC (United States)
- Ploma Enterprise Co (Taiwan)
- Qaim Rasoul Import/Expor Co (Cambodia)
- UNELO (France)
- VietGo Company (Vietnam)
- Wamenya Trading (Netherlands)
Searchable List of Sand Exporting Countries in 2021
Below is an automated listing of the 100 key suppliers of sand on international markets. Collectively, they represent 99.9% of the value of exported sand in 2021.
|Rank||Exporter||Sand Exports (US$)||2020-1|
|57.||United Arab Emirates||$886,000||-83.7%|
Expanding the scope of our comparison to the top 100 sand exporters by dollar value, the fastest gainers were: Laos (up 81,600% from 2020), Venezuela (up 34,733%), Uzbekistan (up 7,088%), Senegal (up 3,042%), Bahamas (up 805%), Philippines (up 657.4%) and South Africa (up 610%).
You can change the presentation order by clicking the triangle icon at the top of the above table’s columns. An entry of 0% in the right-most column means that 2020 was not available.
See also Top Gravel Exporters by Country, Cement Exports by Country, Iron Ore Exports by Country and Top Nickel Exporters by Country
Alibaba, Supplier showroom for Sand. Accessed on July 10, 2022
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Field Listing: Exports – Commodities. Accessed on July 10, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on July 10, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on July 10, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on July 10, 2022
Wikipedia, Sand. Accessed on July 10, 2022