Nampo port

From Global Energy Monitor

Nampo Port (or Nampho Port; Namp'o Port) is located on the mouth of the Taedong River in North Korea and exports coal. The port is the largest west coast port servicing the Pyongyang area.[1]


The Nampo Port is located on the mouth of the Taedong River in Nampo, South Pyongan, North Korea.

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Nampo was originally a small fishing village, but became a port for foreign trade in 1897, developing into a modern port in 1945 after World War II. The port can accommodate ships of 20,000 tons, but is frozen during the winter.[2][3]

In 2005, South Korean companies such as the state-owned Korea Container Terminal Authority (KCTA) and the shipping companies Hansung and Kook Yang Shipping reportedly failed to modernize Nampo port through joint ventures for unknown reasons.[4]

In 2015, China launched a bulk cargo and container shipping route connecting it to North Korea and focused on importing coal and exporting groceries. The route was expected to connect China's Longkou port in eastern China's Shandong province with Nampo Port.[5]

(China Huadian's 880 megawatt Huadian Longkou power station is located in Longkou.)

In August 2017, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 2371 prohibiting North Korean exports of coal. However, Nampo port, described as “[a] North Korean port that serves as a hub for the regime's coal exports," has still been showing signs of activity according to various reports.[6]

For example, in 2019, the Stimson Center and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency conducted a snapshot of North Korea’s coal supply chain published in 38 North which included details about the port:[7]

“While not specifically a coal port, Nampo has within its facilities a large coal-transfer/bunkering quay area. The majority of large, bulk cargo exports of coal originates from there. Monitoring shipping from the port has revealed trends which track closely with developments on the sanctions front, but with some interesting oddities. From the period between February 2016 to January 2017, it was common to observe three large bulk cargo vessels at the quay and bunkering pier; three large ships being the maximum capacity. On February 18, 2017, however, only one 5-hold cargo ship was present, and a general trend of one or no vessels was observed over the next couple years as late as February 24, 2019, when only a 3-hold bulk carrier was present. However, in imagery from March 13, 2019, no vessels were present, but 21 coal cars were positioned at the bulk ore storage area, and approximately 25 more were observed in the adjacent rail yard. While the presence of vessels seems to have been reduced significantly, shipping has not stopped, and throughout this period, the probable coal stores on the wharf, while shifting in size and placement, have remained robust."

Project Details

  • Owner: Unknown
  • Location: Nampo, South Pyongan, North Korea
  • Coordinates: 38.727082,125.415454 (exact)
  • Coal Capacity (Million tonnes per annum): Unknown
  • Status: Operating
  • In Service:
  • Type: Exports
  • Source of Coal:

Articles and Resources


  1. "A Snapshot of North Korea’s Supply Chain Coal Activity," 38 North, March 8, 2019
  2. "Nampo - 36°43'N 125°23'E," Global Security, accessed October 2021
  3. "북한지역정보넷,", accessed October 2021
  4. Jin-Cheol Jo, César Ducruet, "Maritime trade and port evolution in a socialist developing country: Nampo, gateway of North Korea," The Korea Spatial Planning Review, 2006, 51 (1), pp.3-24 (citing Yonhap News)
  5. “China Launches North Korean Shipping Route,” The Maritime Executive, September 25, 2015
  6. “Report: North Korean coal port showing activity amid sanctions,” UPI, March 9, 2021
  7. “A Snapshot of North Korea’s Supply Chain Coal Activity – Part II,” 38 North, April 1, 2019

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