The Port of Namp'o is located on the estuary of the Taedong River in western North Korea about 44 nautical miles downriver (southwest) from the capital city of P'yongyang, and it is the capital's port. The Port of Namp'o is about 81 kilometers northwest of the Port of Haeju and some 190 nautical miles northwest of the Port of Incheon in South Korea. In 2007, about 715 thousand people lived in the Port of Namp'o.
In addition to being a commercial port, the Port of Namp'o is also a fishing and manufacturing center. The Port of Namp'o is a market center for marine products. The Port of Namp'o is an industrial city that supports shipbuilding and the manufacture of steel and vehicles. In 1995, the first joint ventures between North and South Korea were undertaken when the two parties agreed to work together to produce clothing for export.
Archaeological excavations conducted in 1955 indicate that a large prehistoric village was located in the Port of Namp'o. Artifacts found were from the Jeulmun and Mumun pottery periods. Relics have also been found in the area from the Later Han periods (from 25 to 220 AD) that suggest some Chinese presence, when the area was called Lelang-guk.
Until 1897 when the port was opened to foreign shipping, the Port of Namp'o was a fishing village.
In 1946, the Port of Namp'o was split from the South P'yongang province. Since then, it has been administered directly by the national government on the same level as provincial governments in North Korea.
In 1950, during the Korean War, the Port of Namp'o was called Chinnampo by United Nations troops when it was used for a time to provide supplies.