Monday, June 09, 2008

Festrian Trade Patterns

The Festrian Empire, not counting the frontier and subordinate duchies, consists of 43 worlds and appears to have about 1200-1500 ships in commercial use. Commercial shipping is limited to tech 12; a high proportion of it will be produced at tech 9. Hence, ship tonnage will tend to be low, and the majority of ships will be jump-1 vessels.

Most trade is local: J-1 milk runs between two worlds. Ship financiers will generally insist on its shipowners keeping to safe routes between A and B class ports, as well as insisting on payments being due on time at their homeworld. Most sensible shipowners will remain on such routes. C-class ports and worse are chancy: a merchant is putting his ship, crew, passengers and his own life on the line going such places. The result is that merchant ships will generally stay close to home.

Particularly profitable routes between major worlds up to the J-2/3 level will see liner traffic, generally owned outright by larger companies and corporations, rather than financed through banks.

Subsidies exist: the Empire offers subsidies for jump 2 and 3 connections it deems necessary, as well as jump 1 connections to under served worlds within its borders. Winning a subsidy not only requires the funds for the down-payment on the ship, but some very serious politicking. Noble connections help.


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