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A Merchant is an individual or ship engaged primarily in trade and commerce.

Please see the following AAB articles for more information:


Merchant ships range in size from small 200 ton Far and Free Trader class ships to large liners and cargo vessels of up to 10,000 tons displacement. The crews of these ships are also referred to as Merchants.

Ship Doctrine[edit]

Merchant Ship Types include the following:

Armored Merchant (MA) Any starship used for interstellar trade, and commerce that has been set up with weapon systems for defense.
Merchant Liner (MD) Merchant Liners are general-purpose design starships, intended to carry both passengers and freight. They are larger than the Far Traders intended for cargoes over 200 tons and over a dozen passengers
Subsidized Merchant (MG) In subsidized commerce, a local government (or a group of several worlds) agree to subsidize the construction of commercial starships in return for their servicing established routes. Ideally, the route will be profitable, and the subsidy can soon be ended. But, even without profits, the route provides a channel for interstellar trade, helping to provide markets for resources and finished goods as well as, enabling people from different world to share their cultures.

Typically, governments expect subsidized merchants to try to establish routes to make at least marginal profits to diminish the government expense burden. Although individual ports of call may not always provide sales at high margins, at least initially, the ultimate goal is to make the ship self-sufficient. Unfortunately all subsidized merchants are not all profitable and these ships may be recipients of government subsidies for years. Governments have to factor in the benefits derived from the established routes against the costs of maintaining the subsidy. This often becomes the deciding factor with somewhat isolated worlds with limited markets.

Far Trader (ML) A Far Trader is a small starship commonly used for interstellar trade and commerce that is capable of jump 2. Hundreds of variants exist. The typical size equals 200 tons.
Free Trader (ML) A Free Trader is a small starship commonly used for interstellar trade and commerce that is capable of jump 1. Hundreds of variants exist. The typical size equals 200 tons.
Frontier Trader (MS) A heavily armed transport normally doing business with fringe systems.
Merchant Cruiser A generic term applied to vessels specifically assigned to independent missions, the prime objective of which is market discovery and acquisition, either in isolation or in completion with other merchant operators. Design parameters for such vessels usually include a high level of weaponry and auxiliary boats in proportion to their cargo capacity and all possible back-up systems, along with high structural integrity.

Also called an Armed Merchantman, as merchant cruisers are unusally armed. A starship merchant primarily intended for independent cruising in undeveloped trade areas where high survivability is also a design factor.

Representative Classes[edit]

31 Representative Merchant (M) Classes[edit]

Class Origin Hull
Tonnage Jump
Akkigish Class Far Trader Third Imperium MLJ 10 400 Jump 2
Akkigish Class Subsidized Merchant Third Imperium MLS 10 400 Jump 1
Anhk Class Merchant Third Imperium M 13 1,200 Jump 2
Anjou Class Freighter Third Imperium ML 14 440 Jump 2
Annic Nova Class Far Trader Third Imperium MLJ (Non-Standard Classified Type NS18) 12 (Unknown, min. of TL12) 600 Jump 2 & 3 (has two j-drives)
Athelstan Class Merchant Third Imperium M 11 400 Jump 1
Basil Class Merchant Third Imperium M 12 200 Jump 1
Bloodwell Class Merchant Third Imperium MM 12 1,000 Jump 3
Bremen Class Caravel Plavian League M 10 600 Jump 1
Burning Sky Class Schooner Royal Peladon Merchant Marine MA 10 300 Jump 1
Caccil class Merchant Third Imperium MM 16 Varies Jump
Carrack Class Transport Caliphate of Estalia MM 10 800 Jump 1
Coriander class Free Trader Third Imperium MSF 12 300 Jump 2
Dakaar Class Freighter Caledonian MH 12 1,800 Jump 3
Dakaar class Merchant Transport Caledonian MM 12 1,800 Jump 3
Delta Princess Third Imperium ML 9 100 Jump 1
Eakhau class Merchant Aslan ML 14 400 Jump 2
Fanzhienz class Far Trader Zhodani MSJ 9 200 Jump 2
Free Trader Third Imperium MSF 12 200 Jump 1
Fringian Free Trader Distant Fringe ML 11 200 Jump 2
Fringian Light Trader Distant Fringe ML 9 100 Jump 1
Fringian Merchant Trader Distant Fringe ML 11 700 Jump 2
Fringian Provincial Merchant Distant Fringe ML 9 900 Jump 1
Fringian Provincial Trader Distant Fringe ML 9 400 Jump 1
Hellworld Class Merchant Cruiser Sath Alliance MS 11 60,000 Jump 2
Hero Class Private Merchant Ziru Sirka M 10 (GTL) 200 Jump 2
Highlander Class Exploratory Merchant Third Imperium MC 13 500 Jump 3
Iguna Class Trader High Senate M 11 300 Jump 2
Jayhawk class Far Trader Third Imperium MSJ 12 200 Jump 2
Khershawn-class Trader Vargr ML 13 300 Jump 2
Khtukhao class Merchant Aslan MT 14 600 Jump 2

References and contributors[edit]

This article was copied or excerpted from the following copyrighted sources and used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author.