Interstellar Shipping Question

The problem with this is that it excludes all bases (Navy, Scout, etc) which would not be merged with the standard commercial traffic. So there are many systems with multiple 'entry/exit' points that need to be beyond the 100D of various system objects.

I agree with the idea of a large spaceport focused on refining stationed near a gas giant. More efficient, etc. So I can see jumping in or out of the system near that point in space rather than near the primary Starport.
Like I stated before the reason for only 1 StarPort is imperial control of interstellar trade. Also Scout and Navy bases are listed as being adjacent to the system Starport. A Starport around the gas giant would go go counter to imperial control of interstellar trade.
 
0.21 light-years seems to be a bit far to go on an M-Drive and that is the distance from Alpha Centauri AB to Alpha Centauri C, 21 light-years or 13,000 AU. That is 430 times the radius of Neptune's orbit.
Which is one of the few cases where it might be economically viable to make a micro jump. It would greatly depend on the travel time. But this is a rare and extreme occurrence. It would largely depend on the distance and the travel time. 6g acceleration can easily most distance. There alway an exception and I did say “ ALMOST NEVER”. I stand by my statement that Micro jump is rare and largely uneconomical feasible.
 
This made me think, is there a chart anywhere of the transit time to 100D for each system? That might help determine where a secondary Highport for cargo shipments might be (along with Scout tenders) and what Mdrive is needed in a system for best/least transit times.

{edit}
I know it can be computed but wonder if there is a 'simple/master list'
It turns out that yes there is a simple master list for the transit times for 100D
 

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This made me think, is there a chart anywhere of the transit time to 100D for each system?

I'm not sure if this exactly what you are looking for.. but doesn't Travellermap have that information you are looking for for any system. Gives you 100 D/travel times based on your M drive not just for the main world but for any planet in a system with a few clicks in System Actions sub-screen. I like it because it does figure 100D times based on both proximity to the size star(s) as well as any planets/starports you need be away from to safely jump.
 
To be overly pedantic (sorry, can't help it - and sorry about the sorry, I'm not even Canadian, so I can't explain that part), the times are from Traveller Worlds, which is linked off of Traveller Map, but done by an entirely different person named Jonathan Sherlock. He's basing the 100D on a straight out acceleration with no turnaround (and I can't duplicate the math entirely at 1G=10 m/s² but it works at 9.98 - which is neither 100% accurate (9.8 or 9.81 or 9.806 - take your pedantic pick) or a straight 10, - nothing to worry about, I suppose - maybe he's using 0.5D a a starting point, didn't check for that...) , while the table provided by @Anstett above is based on a turnaround at the halfway point 10 m/s² , which is 'standard practice' unless you're escaping some unfortunate situation, and with 1G = 10 m/s².

In any case, it's not necessary to get it down to the nearest second. Unless you're in a dogfight, the nearest 6 minute round (a tenth of an hour) is close enough. Also wise to round up a bit to take into account things like traffic, atmospheres, a less than straight shot due to location on the planetary surface - which can leave you ±0.5 D - and probably with some positive or negative velocity due to rotation. Planetary gravity, that you can actually ignore as a factor if you have lifters, but for the first few seconds of flight at least, you're not going to get 'straight up' full thruster velocity (and then you'd probably loose lifter, em, lift). Yeah, point is, the precision down to the second is an artificial or illusory accuracy even if you're using actual planetary diameter as opposed to Size as the basis of the calculation.
 
^ my middle name is Pedantic.... maybe it was common knowledge among the experienced players but I didn't know that about that site and its travel times being incorrectly figured. Thanks!!!

Sure they don't have to be completely accurate but I want to use accurate times when playing. I guess I'll just use that chart Anstett posted and do my own travel time calculations with star/planet Jump Masking.
 
Why is it faster and cheaper to have a highport with a large berth for a megafreighter and the infrastructure to transfer all the cargo to other ships to send down to the planet rather than have a collection of smaller freighters going directly to the downport? What am I missing? Small craft cargo shuttles are not cheaper than Big Craft cargo freighters per ton of cargo.

Obviously, with 2300 style interface issues for earth to orbit shipping, that's a different paradigm. But in Traveller, the time from orbit to surface is not significant compared to the distance from Orbit to Jump Point. So it doesn't seem like it would be appreciably cheaper to dock at the highport rather than have the lighters go straight to Phoenix Downport or whatever.
Because even with M-Drives not every ship can enter atmosphere and ships without jump drives are cheap. An unstreamlined mega-freighter and a bunch of shuttles will cost less than a fleet of small frieghters, and the shuttles and highport may service other ships while the freighter is away.

Not to mention that the bulk of any civilized planet's industry will be in orbit so you can have the nice green planet for farming, residences, and noble hunting preserves.
 
Because even with M-Drives not every ship can enter atmosphere and ships without jump drives are cheap. An unstreamlined mega-freighter and a bunch of shuttles will cost less than a fleet of small frieghters, and the shuttles and highport may service other ships while the freighter is away.

Not to mention that the bulk of any civilized planet's industry will be in orbit so you can have the nice green planet for farming, residences, and noble hunting preserves.
Sure, that's one solution. But now you are paying for "unstreamlined freighter" + "smaller streamlined freighters of equal volume" + "orbital facility capable of handling the transfer of cargo from the first to the second."

Whether that makes any sense is going to depend on your volumes. Which, of course, we don't actually know. So anyone can make up a good answer depending on how much trade they think a particular system has.

I'm assuming your definition of "civilized" means TL9+. And that you have decided that orbital factories and the shipping of said manufactures down to the surface where they are needed is, in fact, sufficiently cost effective to make ground based manufacturing obsolete. Which certainly could be true, but (as with other aspects of space trade) is simply an reasonable decision by the GM from various possibilities.
 
Sure, that's one solution. But now you are paying for "unstreamlined freighter" + "smaller streamlined freighters of equal volume" + "orbital facility capable of handling the transfer of cargo from the first to the second."

Whether that makes any sense is going to depend on your volumes. Which, of course, we don't actually know. So anyone can make up a good answer depending on how much trade they think a particular system has.

I'm assuming your definition of "civilized" means TL9+. And that you have decided that orbital factories and the shipping of said manufactures down to the surface where they are needed is, in fact, sufficiently cost effective to make ground based manufacturing obsolete. Which certainly could be true, but (as with other aspects of space trade) is simply an reasonable decision by the GM from various possibilities.
And what makes you think the same entity owns the highport and the mega-freighter? Or even the shuttles?

Maybe on some small corporate colony, but in most of the Third Imperium, starports are owned and operated by the Imperium itself and used to service naval and scout vessels as much as mercantile ships.
 
And what makes you think the same entity owns the highport and the mega-freighter? Or even the shuttles?

Maybe on some small corporate colony, but in most of the Third Imperium, starports are owned and operated by the Imperium itself and used to service naval and scout vessels as much as mercantile ships.
I was under the impression that the Imp Navy rarely used regular highports as the IN builds their own dedicated highports, Naval Bases, and Navy Depots. My read on it has been that highports are mostly for trade. They may have a recruiting office some such non-critical IN areas or a small area that is restricted to only IN personnel.

Have you guys read differently or is that just a thing in YTU?
 
Sure, that's one solution. But now you are paying for "unstreamlined freighter" + "smaller streamlined freighters of equal volume" + "orbital facility capable of handling the transfer of cargo from the first to the second."

Whether that makes any sense is going to depend on your volumes. Which, of course, we don't actually know. So anyone can make up a good answer depending on how much trade they think a particular system has.

I'm assuming your definition of "civilized" means TL9+. And that you have decided that orbital factories and the shipping of said manufactures down to the surface where they are needed is, in fact, sufficiently cost effective to make ground based manufacturing obsolete. Which certainly could be true, but (as with other aspects of space trade) is simply a reasonable decision by the GM from various possibilities.
Okay I think you missed the point that the Highport and the Starport are connected and in the imperium are under imperial control. In fact they are imperial territory.

No as to Orbital Factories yes starting at TL 9 a planet would be moving most of their industries into space tho some definitely have to be planet side as long as they use maneuver drive ( without which the situation is very different ) space industries are cheap
 
And what makes you think the same entity owns the highport and the mega-freighter? Or even the shuttles?

Maybe on some small corporate colony, but in most of the Third Imperium, starports are owned and operated by the Imperium itself and used to service naval and scout vessels as much as mercantile ships.
I have no idea what made you think that was an issue.

There is an Imperially managed starport, which may or may not be a highport. The Imperium *manages* the official starport. IMHO, it doesn't own the businesses therein. You might think otherwise. However, given that the Imperium theoretically managed both the highport and the downport of said official starport, I don't see why there would be coercion to use the Highport specifically.

The Navy and Scout bases are separate operations, which may or may not be co-located with the official starport. That's both how it is described in the various examples given in texts and how things are doing IRL when there are Navy and Coast Guard facilities in the same harborage as a mercantile port, at least in the places I've lived. There are also "spaceports", which are any starport that isn't run by the Imperium. But it is unclear how many would be in the system or who owns it. But they might be businesses or governments.

Merchants are going to use the port that is most cost effective. Given that everything about space economics in the 57th century is made up, you can invent any kind of economic justification. Ports transship IRL because you can't actually take your freighter to Prague and there are economies of scale making big freighters more efficient, particularly when you consider port docking slots being the big limiter. So it is cheaper to sail to Rotterdam and then train/truck stuff inland. It isn't clear that there is anything comparable in space/orbit. But you could certainly make it so.

Maybe building orbital docking is massively cheaper than a docking slip on the ground. Maybe transshipment and orbital warehousing are so cheap that shippers don't feel the pinch of that cost compared to whatever costs might be imposed by freighters being able to land at the downport. Large freighters are slightly more cost effective than smaller freighters in Traveller, though not by a lot as most major ship components are % based. But it could be enough to cover the costs of all the shuttles and warehouses.

It's fun to think about, at least for me. So many different ways you could decide things work and be within the bound of what is reasonable.
 
What seems to be missing is the idea of passing the savings on to the customer, ie, service charges. Flat docking fees based on Starport type wouldn’t come close to covering any of the costs associated with operating said Starport. Perhaps that’s viable at D and E ports, but they have no infrastructure to speak of.

I seem to recall a few mentions back in the CT days of shuttle costs for passengers, IIRC because the players were assumed to not have their own ship in those situations. I could be misremembering or conflating with something else. But that might be an interesting house rule to explore for those tables who are into the free trader/mortgage game: daily docking charges, pax and cargo shuttle fees, breaking atmo fees, cross-border tariffs, etc. A few dozen more credits per ship ton per day could add up to a small shuttle fleet to service the port and maybe the system at large. And helps the ref keep the players hungry.

Then again, might be a bit too simulationist.
 
I have no idea what made you think that was an issue.

There is an Imperially managed starport, which may or may not be a highport. The Imperium *manages* the official starport. IMHO, it doesn't own the businesses therein. You might think otherwise. However, given that the Imperium theoretically managed both the highport and the downport of said official starport, I don't see why there would be coercion to use the Highport specifically.

The Navy and Scout bases are separate operations, which may or may not be co-located with the official starport. That's both how it is described in the various examples given in texts and how things are doing IRL when there are Navy and Coast Guard facilities in the same harborage as a mercantile port, at least in the places I've lived. There are also "spaceports", which are any starport that isn't run by the Imperium. But it is unclear how many would be in the system or who owns it. But they might be businesses or governments.

Merchants are going to use the port that is most cost effective. Given that everything about space economics in the 57th century is made up, you can invent any kind of economic justification. Ports transship IRL because you can't actually take your freighter to Prague and there are economies of scale making big freighters more efficient, particularly when you consider port docking slots being the big limiter. So it is cheaper to sail to Rotterdam and then train/truck stuff inland. It isn't clear that there is anything comparable in space/orbit. But you could certainly make it so.

Maybe building orbital docking is massively cheaper than a docking slip on the ground. Maybe transshipment and orbital warehousing are so cheap that shippers don't feel the pinch of that cost compared to whatever costs might be imposed by freighters being able to land at the downport. Large freighters are slightly more cost effective than smaller freighters in Traveller, though not by a lot as most major ship components are % based. But it could be enough to cover the costs of all the shuttles and warehouses.

It's fun to think about, at least for me. So many different ways you could decide things work and be within the bound of what is reasonable.
My issue is that you seem to be thinking that the mega-freighters are owned by the Imperium.

The corporations operating the freighters are not building the highports their ships dock at, just paying docking fees. And when that corporation's ships aren't at port those docks will be occupied by other paying customers.

The way that jump drive works, larger ships are more cost-effective at shipping bulk cargo, and paying docking fees at a highport is almost guaranteed to be less expensive than carrying your own shuttles (in both operating costs and lost cargo space).

Additionally, at a highport mega-freighters can transfer cargo to smaller ships headed for less developed systems without wasting ship tonnage on a UNREP system or similar system.

Not to mention that beanstalks are not uncommon highport features in Charted Space.
 
I have absolutely no idea where you got the idea that I think the Imperium owns the freighters. That is just mind boggling.

Megafreighters IRL dominate because of three things: 1) large ships are more cost effective 2) the bottleneck on shipping is port slots, not hulls 3)You can't actually ship to most of the world. So you are forced to transfer cargo to rail & truck, so centralizing the railheads/truck depots is efficient. So they build WIDER ships so that more is carried without needing more berths at the harbor.

The problem in Traveller is that ports suitable for megafreighters are few and far between and, unlike Rotterdam or Shanghai IRL, they don't actually connect to other places. There's no equivalent of rail or trucks taking things places ships can't actually go. There is just smaller ships taking up space in the port, not being entirely distinct infrastructure. Furthermore, bigger ships don't actually go into the same kinds of berths as smaller ships, unlike in real world maritime ports.

Highports are part of class A, class B, and *some* class C starports. And they are not guaranteed to be large enough to handle megafreighters. Look at the Imperium. The average planet in the Imperium has a population somewhere around a small to medium European country.

ESTONIA (or my home state of Hawaii) are Pop 6. England is pop 7. The US is Pop 8.

The number of places there is a high pop (8+), an A/B starport, and a similar planet in a reasonable jump range to partner up with is LOW. The entire Regina subsector has 4 A/B with 8+ pop planets in it. Regina itself has 1 such world within J3 of it (Extolay). Alell/Efate/Feri are the other three and they are J5 or J6, but could be trading with each other. Rhylanor is awash in opportunities with 2 such worlds within J3. Aramis has 0 such worlds. Lanth just has the aforementioned Extolay.

So where are these megafreighters actually going? Yes, if we imagine an Imperium with lots of high pop, high infrastructure planets, that kind of structure might be the obvious choice. But that's not the Charted Space we have. Not even Core is like that, though it's better than almost anywhere else published.

In order for megafreighters to exist, there needs to be LONG DISTANCE trade, because there is practically no viable short megafreighter routes. Like Rhylanor is sending ships all the way to Mora, which is 4 Jump 3. And two of those transit points are very low pop class C starports. You can decide that they have megafreighter refueling stations to make that make sense. And decide there are goods worth shipping for several months of interstellar transport.
 
The thing is that what is important is the people who want to ship things. They are the ones who are going determine how stuff works. So it is going to be what is convenient for them. IRL, maritime shippers explored shipping faster. But they decided that the fact that more port berths weren't available combined with the fact that most shippers would rather order a week earlier than pay for faster delivery meant that slow sailing was better.

So the megafreighter + warehousing + shuttle needs to be cheaper for the cargo owner than flying directly to the downport in a smaller, streamlined ship. Same thing for passengers. I'm not going to put up with having to get off on the high port and then board a shuttle to the surface unless that's cheaper (or otherwise superior) to just going straight to the planet's surface.

Which again leads us to the issue that traveller is focused on what's useful for players who might, at best, be tramp traders. So there is essentially no discussion of how scheduled freight works or what the cost is to take the megaliner to the high port and shuttle down vs taking a regular liner direct to the planet surface.

Traveller has those cost the same thing. That's practically impossible. No one is going to pay for warehousing and reshipment if they can get nonstop for the same price.

So, as I mentioned before, the DM has to decide which of a number of reasonable end results they like best and work backwards from there. If you want megafreighters and hub & spoke, you need to upscale your infrastructure to make that make sense. If you like Jump Frames hauling non jump freighters from system to system, that will lead to different decisions about how various things price out. And so on with low trade concepts and all the other ways it might work out.
 
I have absolutely no idea where you got the idea that I think the Imperium owns the freighters. That is just mind boggling.

Megafreighters IRL dominate because of three things: 1) large ships are more cost effective 2) the bottleneck on shipping is port slots, not hulls 3)You can't actually ship to most of the world. So you are forced to transfer cargo to rail & truck, so centralizing the railheads/truck depots is efficient. So they build WIDER ships so that more is carried without needing more berths at the harbor.

The problem in Traveller is that ports suitable for megafreighters are few and far between and, unlike Rotterdam or Shanghai IRL, they don't actually connect to other places. There's no equivalent of rail or trucks taking things places ships can't actually go. There is just smaller ships taking up space in the port, not being entirely distinct infrastructure. Furthermore, bigger ships don't actually go into the same kinds of berths as smaller ships, unlike in real world maritime ports.

Highports are part of class A, class B, and *some* class C starports. And they are not guaranteed to be large enough to handle megafreighters. Look at the Imperium. The average planet in the Imperium has a population somewhere around a small to medium European country.

ESTONIA (or my home state of Hawaii) are Pop 6. England is pop 7. The US is Pop 8.

The number of places there is a high pop (8+), an A/B starport, and a similar planet in a reasonable jump range to partner up with is LOW. The entire Regina subsector has 4 A/B with 8+ pop planets in it. Regina itself has 1 such world within J3 of it (Extolay). Alell/Efate/Feri are the other three and they are J5 or J6, but could be trading with each other. Rhylanor is awash in opportunities with 2 such worlds within J3. Aramis has 0 such worlds. Lanth just has the aforementioned Extolay.

So where are these megafreighters actually going? Yes, if we imagine an Imperium with lots of high pop, high infrastructure planets, that kind of structure might be the obvious choice. But that's not the Charted Space we have. Not even Core is like that, though it's better than almost anywhere else published.

In order for megafreighters to exist, there needs to be LONG DISTANCE trade, because there is practically no viable short megafreighter routes. Like Rhylanor is sending ships all the way to Mora, which is 4 Jump 3. And two of those transit points are very low pop class C starports. You can decide that they have megafreighter refueling stations to make that make sense. And decide there are goods worth shipping for several months of interstellar transport.
Because you kept going on about paying for the megafreighter and orbital facilities as if the shipping company wasn’t just temporarily renting a small part of the station.

I’m setting my current campaign in Regina subsector and there’s plenty of class A and B ports along the main trade routes. And that’s out in the Spinward Marches.
 
Yes, because renting is paying for. It's not free? So the shipper has to 1) pay a megafreighter to ship their goods to the highport, then pay to store goods in the highport until they can be put on a cargo shuttle to the surface, then pay the shuttle to the downport. This has to compare favorably to shipping the goods on a smaller freighter that can go straight to the downport. IF the megafreighter costs enough less *to the shipper* than the streamlined freighter direct to the downport, this will work. That is not how trade rules work in Traveller, but those don't actually make any sense anyway. :D So the GM can make up a situation where that's true. But they can also make up a situation where that is not true. It will not be the same from system to system, because the relative costs of orbital vs ground based infrastructure will vary considerably based on what the planet is like.

Regarding Regina, I guess you just have a different map than I do. Regina has *two* class B starports within Jump 4 of it (not in the Regina subsector, btw :p). The coreward "top" of the subsector does have a decent number of A & B starports, but except for Efate, Alell (an amber zone), and Feri, they are all low population.

Uakye and Boughene are less populated than Luxembourg. Pixie might conceivably have fewer residents than a megafreighter has passengers & crew. Kinorb is about the population of Wisconsin. Yres and Heya actually have pops approaching the USA. A large jump 3 vessel operating from Efate probably has enough bilateral trade partners to be feasible. There's no practical way for Regina to do large freighter trade with those coreward worlds as there is a wasteland of D & E ports between them. If you decide that Roup's actually got a substantial high port despite being class C, an Amber Zone, and Tech 7, it is a bit more feasible.

The megafreighter thing assumes a level of infrastructure that the Traveller rules do not. A Class B starport per the rules only has an 8+ on 2d6 of having a significant high port. A class C is a 10+. You can (and maybe even should) ignore that. The fiction descriptions of Charted Space suggest a lot of space trade, but the mapped world data doesn't align with that. Personally, I'd fix the infrastructure to match the supposed high level of trade and/or use Jump Ferries to move non jump freighters around. But that's just what I would do. I am not under the impression that it is the one true way to do it.

Again, you can decide that interstellar shipping is so cost effective that even Planet Luxembourg is getting megafreighters' worth of cargo regularly.
You can decide that class C starports are equipped to handle megafreighters. Do what's fun for your game, obviously.
 
The megafreighter thing assumes a level of infrastructure that the Traveller rules do not. A Class B starport per the rules only has an 8+ on 2d6 of having a significant high port. A class C is a 10+. You can (and maybe even should) ignore that. The fiction descriptions of Charted Space suggest a lot of space trade, but the mapped world data doesn't align with that. Personally, I'd fix the infrastructure to match the supposed high level of trade and/or use Jump Ferries to move non jump freighters around. But that's just what I would do. I am not under the impression that it is the one true way to do it.

Again, you can decide that interstellar shipping is so cost effective that even Planet Luxembourg is getting megafreighters' worth of cargo regularly.
You can decide that class C starports are equipped to handle megafreighters. Do what's fun for your game, obviously.
Having a megafreighter stop at a given world doesn't mean it absolutely need to drop all its cargo & load a full hold there. It can just drop a few containers (or a few dozen) & refuel because it is a convenient place to refuel. Planet Luxembourg might see a few megafreighters each month but most of them will just refuel, buy some fresh food and leave.
Living of canned food, in a tin can with recycled air, means you'll enjoy having some fresh fruits far more than we can imagine.

I guess many megacorps would gladly install a refueling base in a low pop/ low tech world if it is conveniently placed on a major route. Even at the cost of padding some local pockets.
 
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