DUCRUET, César, 2008, Hub dependence in constrained economies: the case of North Korea, Maritime Policy and Management, 35(4), 374-388.
While the geographical and economic factors concerning the development of hub ports are widely described by a variety of scholars and professionals, there is no recognized methodology measuring the hub dependence of a given port, region, or country. Based on a 20-year database of vessel movements, this paper proposes a methodology measuring hub dependence. North Korea offers a good case of a constrained economy facing dramatic internal and external pressures. Notably, the weight and geographical extent of its maritime connections are worth analysing because of its contrasted evolution from Soviet influence, geopolitical isolation, and growing trade due to economic reforms and increased foreign investments. The main results of this study show the spatial shift from long-distance calls to feeder calls: global foreland contraction, regionalization within Northeast Asia, and traffic concentration upon closest hubs of which South Korean ports. We conclude that hub dependence is a combination of local constraints and trade growth. The political implications of this phenomenon are explored, and a spatial model of hub dependence is proposed.