Ports in state socialism, or why the Cold War matters to maritime history

  1. Sarah Lemmen 1
  2. Brigitte Le Normand 2
  1. 1 Universidad Complutense de Madrid

    Universidad Complutense de Madrid

    Madrid, España

    ROR 02p0gd045

  2. 2 University of British Columbia

    University of British Columbia

    Vancouver, Canadá

    ROR https://ror.org/03rmrcq20

International journal of maritime history

ISSN: 0843-8714

Year of publication: 2021

Volume: 33

Issue: 1

Pages: 118-128

Type: Article

DOI: 10.1177/0843871421991176 DIALNET GOOGLE SCHOLAR lock_openOpen access editor

More publications in: International journal of maritime history


Cited by

  • Scopus Cited by: 1 (27-09-2023)
  • Web of Science Cited by: 1 (16-09-2023)
  • Dimensions Cited by: 0 (18-04-2023)

SCImago Journal Rank

  • Year 2021
  • SJR Journal Impact: 0.116
  • Best Quartile: Q3
  • Area: History Quartile: Q3 Rank in area: 874/1591
  • Area: Transportation Quartile: Q4 Rank in area: 114/124


  • Social Sciences: B
  • Human Sciences: A

Scopus CiteScore

  • Year 2021
  • CiteScore of the Journal : 0.3
  • Area: History Percentile: 46
  • Area: Transportation Percentile: 3

Journal Citation Indicator (JCI)

  • Year 2021
  • Journal Citation Indicator (JCI): 0.79
  • Best Quartile: Q2
  • Area: HISTORY Quartile: Q2 Rank in area: 177/494


(Data updated as of 18-04-2023)
  • Total citations: 0
  • Recent citations: 0
  • Field Citation Ratio (FCR): 0.0


As central transport hubs of commodities, people and information, ports play a specific and important role in modern societies. This is valid even more so in socialist states. As we argue in this introduction, and subsequently throughout this Forum, socialist ports were in many ways places of exception: in a political system that preferred closed borders, ports symbolized the ‘gates to the world’; in an economic system that was thoroughly planned, ports became the main contact point for global trade outside of a planned economy. Therefore, while socialist ports differed from other socialist entities, they also differed from non-socialist ports, especially regarding the influence of government control and decision-making through state-owned companies or the ‘primacy of politics’ over economic argument. This specificity of socialist ports during the Cold War is analysed from three perspectives in the articles collected in this Forum: first, on the local or micro level, attention is afforded to agents such as sailors or port workers navigating the particular conditions of the ports; second, the top-down approaches of local or national management of the ports are discussed; third, ports are appraised as part of larger networks in their international context.

Funding information

The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This publication was financially supported by the program ‘Anschubfinanzierung für weibliche Post-Docs’ at the University of Kiel. Brigitte Le Normand’s research was supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.