The impacts of a (geo)political and economic crisis on the distribution of port traffic and maritime networks was the main theme of PortEconomics member Cesar Ducruet during his presentation at the 1st International Forum of Korean Maritime Institute held on 28 November in Busan, Korea.
The case of North Korea is particularly relevant as it provides a fertile ground to investigate the dynamics and mechanisms of logistics disruption. A first-hand database on vessel movements connecting North Korean ports between 1977 and 2015 is exploited to underline several issues: the differentials between North Korean vessels and foreign vessels calling at North Korean ports (i.e. fleet ageing, average size, turnaround time) as well as the distribution of North Korean ports’ connectivity with the outside world and, in particular, with its adjacent neighbors that are also its main trading partners (i.e. Japan, South Korea, China). Main results confirm the lowering role of sea transport in North Korea’s foreign trade, due to increasing cross-border truck traffic with China, and a major shift of North Korea’s maritime traffic towards North Chinese ports, following a former dependence upon Japanese and South Korean hubs. What becomes clear is the growing Chinese influence on North Korea’s and economic evolution, through both direct and transit trade and logistics. Internally, the capital region’s main port Nampo had gradually become North Korea’s main gateway at the expense of declining East coast port cities, with the notable exception of Rajin port in recent years that serves as a landbridge node serving Chinese and Russian interests.
Download Cesar’s presentation freely via PortEconomics.