NPC Cargo Transport is the use of Ship and Vehicle squadrons which meet certain conditions to move Raw Materials without requiring a character to be physically controlling the squadron leader. Cargo Squadrons are created at certain Facilities and Stations which function as Cargo Bases. The Cargo Base must be linked to one or more Cargo Sources which can provide Raw Materials. The Cargo Base has a Cargo Manifest which specifies how much of each Raw Material should be retrieved for storage onboard.
NPC Cargo Transport operates as a "Pull" type logistics system. The Base acts as a Raw Material "vacuum", sending out squadrons of transports to bring materials back to the base. All activity is initiated at the Base, and all tags are applied to the Base. The Sources are linked to the base, and the ships must start at the Base. The Raw Materials must be in a Source to be moved.
Each character can only control a limited number of transport squadron slot points, as determined by the equation below. Only ships or vehicles that are considered Transports (see below) count against the total slot points. Escorts can be added for free, up to the maximum of 12 points in a single squadron.
Total Available Points = 30 + ( (Space Command + Diplomacy + Management) * 6)
Mace has 0 in Space Command, 1 in Diplomacy, and 3 in Management. Therefore, he can control 30 + ((0 + 1 + 3) * 6) points worth of transport points, for a total of 54.
Mace starts his first Cargo Squadron using a pair of BFF-1 Bulk Freighters, each of which take up 6 points, for a total of 12 points used. He has 42 points remaining.
Mace starts his second Cargo Squadron with a Goji-DF Turtle Tanker (2 Points) and a CR-92 Battle Corvette (10 Points). Only the Goji Tanker counts against his total, as the Corvette is not a transport vessel. The squadron uses 2 points, for a total of 14 points used between both squadrons. He has 40 points remaining.
NPC Cargo Transport incurs a cost for each travel between a hub and a source, or vice versa. This cost is based on the type of Destination, the number of hours it takes to travel between the Base and the Source, and the value of both hauler and cargo. The Berthing Fees are determined by the Destination (the Base or a Source), and its economic factors. Larger facilities and stations have higher fees. The Haulage Fees are determined by the value of both the Transport vessels and the cargo within. Longer travel times have higher fees.
The combined Berthing and Haulage fees are then modified based on the number of concurrent active squadrons controlled by the player.
Total Cost = (Berthing Fees + Haulage Fees) * Concurrent Cost Modifier
The table below gives example cost modifiers for common "Points in use" values.
|Point In Use||Cost Modifier|
The fee is assessed once each at the beginning of both the outbound and inbound legs of travel. It is NOT charged for each travel segment of the leg.
The value of H, travel time, does not include Travel Planner delays or Cargo Transfer delays, and is NOT rounded to an integer.
Cargo Bases can have one or more tags assigned via inventory. Each tag can have a fitout created which stores one or more Raw Material types, a desired quantity, and a priority. A higher priority indicates that the material is more important and will be requested before a lower priority material.
Each fitout entry is limited to a maximum quantity of 20,000,000 m3 and a maximum priority of 100.
Tags should be applied to the Cargo Base, not the Cargo Source!
Cargo Bases will aggregate fitouts from each tag to create an overall Manifest for the base, up to a maximum of 5 tags. When the same material is present in multiple tags with different priorities, a weighted average priority will be created. The Base Manifest is limited to 12 entries. If more than that number of materials are present in the aggregates tags, the lowest priority materials will not be included in the manifest. The Manage Cargo Manifest page accessible on a Cargo Base will show how much of each manifest entry has already been fulfilled.
If no tags are assigned, a default manifest will be created which prioritizes the most common construction and production materials, ordered by cost of transport.
The Cargo Manifest does not care about the ownership of Raw Material piles, for the purposes of determining fulfillment. All piles of a particular type are counted, regardless of who owns them, when determining how much more of a material is required.
When a Cargo Squadron is created, it will look at the manifest for the Base, and select the highest priority manifest that:
A Cargo Squadron will only service one Manifest entry at a time. Additionally, each Manifest entry will only be serviced by one Cargo Squadron at a time. This may occasionally result in inefficient travel if there is only a small amount of required material remaining.
Only facility and station types listed below can act as Cargo Bases and manage Cargo Squadrons. Each base can be linked to multiple Cargo Sources, from which the Cargo Squadrons will pull Raw Materials. Bases are limited to a maximum of 25 linked Cargo Sources. Any valid Source in the same system can be linked to the Base. The Base and Source do not need to be on the same planet.
The Base must have a Commander assigned, and the Commander must be either the character controlling the Cargo Squadrons, or the faction to which the character belongs. If the Commander is the character's faction, they must have the Launch Cargo Squadrons privilege.
All fees for NPC Cargo Transport are paid by the Commander.
The facility and station types listed below can act as Cargo Sources.
To be considered as a Cargo Source, the following conditions must be met:
NPC Cargo Transport squadrons must contain at least one of the entity types listed below. Other members of the squadron can be any entity type that is able to be squadded. This gives flexibility when creating squadrons, allowing the controller to maximize cargo capacity or add escorts.
All characters can control Squadrons consisting of ships or vehicles they own. Characters in a Faction and possessing the correct privileges can control Squadrons consisting of Faction-owned ships or vehicles.
Cargo Squadrons will only transport Raw Materials that share an owner with the Squadron leader.
Each entity assigned to a squadron must meet all of the following conditions before Cargo Transport can occur:
Cargo Squadrons travel using the Travel Planner system (see Movement rules). A short but skippable delay occurs between each segment of the travel. The controller of the Cargo Squadron can order the delay skipped from the Active Cargo Squadrons page.
Cargo Squadrons use the appropriate piloting skill of the controller, modified by the controller's Space Command skill. See Garrisons for more details.
Loading or unloading cargo takes time. The base time for transferring cargo to or from a Vehicle is 30 minutes. The base time for transferring cargo to or from a Ship is 180 minutes. The Cargo Loading Time delay cannot be skipped.
The base time is then modified based on the number of concurrent active squadrons controlled by the player. Note that the modifier can be less than 1.0, so transfer times are faster than the base time when a player is controlling a small number of squadrons.
The table below gives example transfer times for common "Points in use" values.
|Point In Use||Vehicle Transfer||Ship Transfer|
|12||15 minutes||90 minutes|
|24||15 minutes||90 minutes|
|36||22 minutes||130 minutes|
|48||38 minutes||230 minutes|
|60||60 minutes||360 minutes|
|72||86 minutes||518 minutes|
|84||118 minutes||706 minutes|
|96||154 minutes||922 minutes|
|108||194 minutes||1166 minutes|
|120||240 minutes||1440 minutes|
Cargo Squadrons can be manually ordered to Return To Base at any time. Doing so will disband the squadron once it reaches the Cargo Base.
Cargo Squadrons can also be manually ordered to Disband Immediately. This will halt all ongoing activity, including travel or cargo transfer, and immediately disband the squadron. The squadron will NOT automatically return to base if this option is used.