This paper is one of the first to investigate the evolution and importance of ports in North Korea. It introduces recent changes in the domestic transport system together with the new context of economic reforms since 2002. A first part is dedicated to urban dynamics centering on Nampo. The second part is based on previous models of port evolution in either soviet or developing countries. It proposes an analysis of cargo vessel movements at North Korean ports between 1985 and 2005. Major trends are highlighted such as port concentration, bulk dominance, and limited importance of sea transport for foreign trade. A short comparison with Baltic ports is provided for a discussion about the applicability of transit trade and free-trade zone strategies to North Korean ports.

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Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements (KRIHS)
Erasmus School of Economics

Ducruet, C., & Jo, J.-C. (2006). Maritime trade and port evolution in a socialist developing country. Retrieved from