September 27, 2023

Diminishing returns: heat maps show North Korea’s shrinking trade routes

Data reveals impact of sanctions crackdown over past five years

Heat maps showing all North Korea's merchant vessel movement over the course of the last five years highlight the DPRK's shrinking trade routes and diminishing global presence, though also reinforce how some of the country's illicit activity has been farmed out to its sanctions evasion networks.

The maps, generated by the NK Pro ship tracker, suggest that, since 2013, foreign ports have gradually become less appealing to vessels sailing under the North's colors.