Going West? Spatial polarization of the North Korean port system

This paper analyzes North Korean ports in light of existing models of port system evolution. It reviews the economic and political factors shaping port concentration in developed, developing, and socialist countries. A database on vessel movements allows for the analysis of individual North Korean port traffic by total capacity circulated, cargo type, fleet nationality, immediate origin and destination, and berthing time. While ideological factors and military control hamper port modernization and trade openness, traffic concentration at the Pyongyang-Nampo gateway highlights the spatial polarization in the capital region at the expense of Eastern ports for which inland transport limitations and industrial decline have become major issues. The North Korean case only partly fits general models because traffic concentration occurs due to geopolitical isolation and internal limitations rather than economic and trade growth.


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  • Accession Number: 01140684
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 16 2009 10:50AM