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Transport in North Korea

transportation in north korea
Transport in North Korea is constrained by economic problems and government restrictions Public transport predominates, and most of it is electrified


  • 1 Restrictions on freedom of movement
  • 2 Roads
  • 3 Public transport
  • 4 Railways
  • 5 Water transport
    • 51 Merchant marine
  • 6 Ferry Service
  • 7 Air transport
  • 8 See also
  • 9 References
  • 10 Further reading
  • 11 External links

Restrictions on freedom of movementedit

Travel to North Korea is tightly controlled The standard route to and from North Korea is by plane or train via Beijing, China Transport directly to and from South Korea was possible on a limited scale from 2003 until 2008, when a road was opened bus tours, no private cars Freedom of movement in North Korea is also limited,1 as citizens are not allowed to move around freely inside their country2


Main roads of North Korea Map of Motorways in North Korea Future Motorway Plans Right hand drive RHD Toyota Landcruiser in front of a Pyongyang hotel

Fuel constraints and the near absence of private automobiles have relegated road transportation to a secondary role The road network was estimated to be around 31,200 km in 1999 up from between 23,000 and 30,000 km in 1990, of which only 1,717 km, 75%, are pavedcitation needed However, The World Factbook published by the US Central Intelligence Agency lists 25,554 km of roads with only 724 km paved as of 20063 As for the road quality, drivers will often swerve and change lanes to evade potholes, and this includes going into opposite-direction lanes at times Likewise, sections under repair may not be properly signalled, so oncoming traffic should always be expected even on a divided motorway

There are three major multilane highways: a 200-kilometre expressway connecting Pyongyang and Wonsan on the east coast, a 43-kilometre expressway connecting Pyongyang and its port, Namp'o, and a four-lane 100-kilometre motorway linking Pyongyang and Kaesong The overwhelming majority of the estimated 264,000 vehicles in use in 1990 were for the military Rural bus service connects all villages, and cities have bus and tram services Since 1945/1946, there is right-hand traffic on roadscitation needed In cities, driving speeds are set by which lane a driver is in4 The speed limits are 40 km/h 24 mph, 60 km/h 37 mph and 70 km/h 43 mph for the first, second, and subsequent if existing lanes from the right, respectively A white-on-blue sign informs about this4 The leftmost lane, if it is number 3 from the right or higher and is not a turning lane, is often left vacant, even by tourist buses, while the second-from-right lane is generally used to overtake vehicles from lane one, such as public transport buses and trams

Besides the blue in-city sign, all other occasions, such as motorways and roads outside cities, use the more widely known red-circle-with-number-inside sign to post speed limits On motorways, the typical limit is 80 and 100 km/h for lanes from the right, respectively, as posted on the Pyongyang–Kaesong highway, for example The rightmost lane of a motorway is sometimes, as seen on the Pyongyang–Myohyang highway, limited to 60 near onramp joining points

Automobile transportation is further restricted by a series of regulations According to North Korean exile Kim Ji-ho, unless a driver receives a special permit it is forbidden to drive alone the driver must carry passengers5 Other permits are a military mobilization permit to transport soldiers in times of war, a certificate of driver training to be renewed every year, a fuel validity document a certificate confirming that the fuel was purchased from an authorized source and a mechanical certificate to prove that the car is in working order5

Although it drives on the right, North Korea has imported various used RHD vehicles from Japan through Russia, from tourist buses to Toyota Land Cruisers and Hiacescitation needed

As of 2017, electric bicycles are becoming popular in Pyongyang; about 5% of bicycles are electric Both locally and Chinese electric bicycles were available6

Public transportedit

See also: Trams and Trolleybuses in North Korea

There is a mix of locally built and imported trolleybuses and trams in the major urban centres of North Korea Earlier fleets were obtained from Europe and China


Main article: Rail transport in North Korea See also: Sino-Korea Friendship Bridge and Pyongyang Metro

The Korean State Railway is the only rail operator in North Korea It has a network of over 6000 km of standard gauge and 400 km of narrow gauge 762 mm lines; as of 2007, over 5400 km of the standard gauge well over 80%, along with 2955 km of the narrow gauge lines are electrified7 The narrow gauge segment runs in the Haeju peninsula8

Because of lack of maintenance on the rail infrastructure and vehicles, the travel time by rail is increasing It has been reported that the 190 km 120 mi trip from Pyongyang to Kaesong can take up to 6 hours9

Water transportedit

Taedong River in Pyongyang Yalu River near Sinuiju Nampho Nampho

Water transport on the major rivers and along the coasts plays a growing role in freight and passenger traffic Except for the Yalu and Taedong rivers, most of the inland waterways, totaling 2,250 kilometers, are navigable only by small boats Coastal traffic is heaviest on the eastern seaboard, whose deeper waters can accommodate larger vessels The major ports are Nampho on the west coast and Rajin, Chongjin, Wonsan, and Hamhung on the east coast The country's harbor loading capacity in the 1990s was estimated at almost 35 million tons a year There is a continuing investment in upgrading and expanding port facilities, developing transportation—particularly on the Taedong River—and increasing the share of international cargo by domestic vessels

Ports in North Korea
Chongjin, Haeju, Hamhung, Kimchaek, Kaesong, Rasŏn, Nampo, Sinuiju, Songnim, Sonbong formerly Unggi, Ungsang, Wonsan

Merchant marineedit

See also: North Korea Maritime Administration and List of North Korean merchant ships

In the early 1990s, North Korea possessed an oceangoing merchant fleet, largely domestically produced, of 68 ships of at least 1,000 gross-registered tons, totalling 465,801 gross-registered tons 709,442 tonnes deadweight DWT, which included fifty-eight cargo ships and two tankers As of 2008, this has increased to a total of 167 vessels consisting mainly of cargo and tanker ships

Fleet by type
Total 167
Bulk carrier 11
Cargo 121
Carrier 1
Chemical tanker 4
Container 3
Cargo liner 3
Petroleum tanker 19
Reefer ship 4
Roll on/Roll off 1

Ferry Serviceedit

North Korea maintains the Man Gyong Bong 92, a ferry connecting Rajin and Vladivostok, Russia10

Air transportedit

See also: Air Koryo and Pyongyang Sunan International Airport Pyongyang Sunan International Airport Air Koryo Tupolev Tu-204 Pyongyang Sunan International Airport ramp

North Korea's international air connections are limited in frequency and numbers As of 2011, scheduled flights operate only from Pyongyang's Pyongyang Sunan International Airport to Beijing, Dalian, Shenyang, Shanghai, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Moscow, Khabarovsk, Vladivostok and Kuwait International Airport Charters to other destinations operate as per demand Prior to 1995 many routes to Eastern Europe were operated including services to Sofia, Belgrade, Prague, Budapest along with others

Air Koryo is the country's national airline Air China also operates flights between Beijing and Pyongyang In 2013, MIAT Mongolian Airlines began operating direct charter services from Ulaanbattar to Pyongyang with Boeing 737-800 aircraft11

Internal flights are available between Pyongyang, Hamhung, Haeju HAE, Hungnam HGM, Kaesong KSN, Kanggye, Kilju, Najin NJN, Nampo NAM, Sinuiju SII, Samjiyon, Wonsan WON, Songjin SON and Chongjin CHO All civil aircraft are operated by Air Koryo, which has a fleet of 19 passenger and cargo aircraft, all of which are Soviet or more modern Russian types

As of 2013, the CIA estimates that North Korea has 82 usable airports, 39 of which have permanent-surface runways12

Airports – with paved runways
Total 39
> 3,047 m 3
2,438 to 3,047 m 22
1,524 to 2,437 m 8
914 to 1,523 m 2
< 914 m 4
Airports – with unpaved runways
Total 43
2,438 to 3,047 m 3
1,524 to 2,437 m 17
914 to 1,523 m 15
< 914 m 8

See alsoedit

  • Tourism in North Korea


  •  This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website http://lcweb2locgov/frd/cs/
  1. ^ United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees July 2, 2008 "UNHCR Freedom in the World 2008 - North Korea" Unhcrorg Archived from the original on October 18, 2012 Retrieved 2011-04-08 
  2. ^ North Korea: Freedom of movement, opinion and expression - Information sheet Archived 2015-02-16 at the Wayback Machine, Amnesty International, PDF Archived 2013-10-19 at the Wayback Machine, published 2 August 2009, accessed 2011-04-08
  3. ^ "North Korea: Transportation" CIA World Factbook Archived from the original on July 3, 2015 Retrieved July 13, 2013 
  4. ^ a b "Driving in North Korea and Speed Limit Regulations" New Focus International Feb 24, 2013 Archived from the original on July 17, 2013 Retrieved July 13, 2013 
  5. ^ a b "North Korean traffic police moonlight as service stations" New Focus International July 12, 2013 Archived from the original on July 15, 2013 Retrieved July 13, 2013 
  6. ^ Frank, Ruediger 6 April 2017 "Consumerism in North Korea: The Kwangbok Area Shopping Center" 38 North US-Korea Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies Archived from the original on 11 April 2017 Retrieved 10 April 2017 
  7. ^ Kokubu, Hayato, 将軍様の鉄道 Shōgun-sama no Tetsudō, ISBN 978-4-10-303731-6
  8. ^ Rob Dickinson "A Glimpse of North Korea's Railways" The International Steam Pages Archived from the original on 2 May 2008 Retrieved 4 July 2009 
  9. ^ Paul French 2007 North Korea: The Paranoid Peninsula – A Modern History 2nd ed New York: Zed Books, p 18, ISBN 1842779052
  10. ^ Shim, Elizabeth May 18, 2017 "North Korea ferry service launched between Rajin, Vladivostok" UPI The Man Gyong Bong 92 left the North Korean port of Rajin on Wednesday evening with about 40 passengers on a trial run It arrived in Vladivostok on Thursday at 8 am, Russia's state-run Tass news agency reported 
  11. ^ "Archived copy" Archived from the original on 2014-03-28 Retrieved 2014-03-30 
  12. ^ "Archived copy" Archived from the original on 2015-07-03 Retrieved 2010-05-17 

Further readingedit

  • Download a map of the entire North Korean Railway system to Google Earth here
  • Ducruet, Cesar et Jo, Jin-Cheol 2008 Coastal Cities, Port Activities and Logistic Constraints in a Socialist Developing Country: The Case of North Korea, Transport Reviews, Vol 28, No 1, pp 1–25: http://wwwinformaworldcom/smpp/462288788-26821155/content~content=a782923580~db=all~tab=content~order=page
  • Jo, Jin-Cheol et Ducruet, Cesar 2007 Rajin-Seonbong, new gateway of Northeast Asia, Annals of Regional Science, Vol 41, No 4, pp 927–950: http://wwwspringerlinkcom/content/625g177v07722201
  • Jo, Jin-Cheol et Ducruet, Cesar 2006 Maritime trade and port evolution in a socialist developing country : Nampo, gateway of North Korea, The Korea Spatial Planning Review, Vol 51, pp 3–24: http://librarykrihsrekr/file/publication/att_file/publication2/PR51_01pdf
  • DUCRUET, Cesar, JO, Jin-Cheol, LEE, Sung-Woo, ROUSSIN, Stanislas, 2008, Geopolitics of shipping networks: the case of North Korea's maritime connections, Sustainability in International Shipping, Port and Logistics Industries and the China Factor, International Association of Maritime Economists IAME, Dalian, China, April 2–4
  • DUCRUET, Cesar, ROUSSIN, Stanislas, 2007, The changing relations between hinterland and foreland at North Korean ports 1985–2006, 6th Inha & Le Havre International Conference, Inha University, Incheon, Republic of Korea, October 10–11
  • DUCRUET, Cesar, ROUSSIN, Stanislas, 2007, Inter-Korean maritime linkages: economic integration vs hub dependence, 15th European Conference on Theoretical and Quantitative Geography, Montreux, Switzerland, September 7–11, pp 133–139 ISBN 978-2-940368-05-1
  • ROUSSIN, Stanislas, DUCRUET, Cesar, 2007, The Nampo-Pyongyang corridor: a strategic area for European investment in DPRK, Recent Changes in North Korea and the Role of the European Union, Institute of Unification Studies & Hans Seidel Foundation, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea, June 1
  • ROUSSIN, Stanislas, DUCRUET, Cesar, 2007, Doing business in DPRK for the European companies: the logistic issue, Seogang University, Seoul, Republic of Korea, May 26
  • ROUSSIN, Stanislas, DUCRUET, Cesar, 2006, Logistic perspectives in DPRK, Annual Fall Meeting of the Korean Society of Coastal and Ocean Engineers, Seoul, Republic of Korea, September 15–16
  • Ducruet, Cesar et Roussin, Stanislas 2007 Coree du Nord : vers l'ouverture des ports maritimes, Journal de la Marine Marchande, No 4566, Juin 22, pp 6–9
  • Ducruet, Cesar et Roussin, Stanislas 2007 L'archipel nord-coreen : transition economique et blocages territoriaux, Mappemonde, Vol 87, http://mappemondemgmfr/num15/articles/art07302html

External linksedit

  • Air Koryo official website
  • Pyongyang metro unofficial website
  • Drive through central Pyongyang at rush hour on National Day Holiday on YouTube
  • Transport in North Korea at DMOZ

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Transport in North Korea

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    Transport in North Korea beatiful post thanks!


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