Trade Route

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A Trade Route is a single route through jumpspace or many connected routes through jumpspace used by interstellar Travellers and merchants among others.

Library Data Referral Tree[edit]

Please refer to the following AAB Library Data articles for more information:

Description (Specifications)[edit]

A Trade Route is, generally speaking, a series of stars used as transit points for interstellar travel.

  • Jump Bridges and related installations sometimes bridge the gaps where stars are not located.

Within the subsector, local governments will have established communications or trade routes connecting some (but not all) worlds. These routes serve as a conduit for messages between businesses and between governments as well as between people. The also serve as the basic routes that liners and large freighters travel. Key worlds are connected by communications routes. Star Maps show the distribution of star systems in space, and show their relationships to each other in terms of relative distance (parsecs) and commercial space-lane connections.

Limited Accessibility to Trade Routes[edit]

Trade routes directly serve fewer than a tenth of the worlds of the Imperium.

Trade Route Traffic[edit]

Trade Routes are travel routes which jump-capable starships travel between major worlds and which connect vital suppliers with essential markets, important government worlds with high population worlds, and strategic resources with exploiting industry.

  • Trade routes are a natural outgrowth of economic and market pressures.
  • When a market is no longer profitable, the trade routes bypass it.
Trade Route Traffic
Characterization Common Route/s FTL Remarks
Slow FTL Traffic These routes are affordable to travel: J:1-2 J:1-2 routes and traders are very efficient and affordable.
  • Tramp Liners and Free Traders can afford to travel these routes and the middle class can afford these tickets.
  • They harbor much traffic and are often patrolled by the naval patrols and/or paramilitary police forces.
  • System navies are known to put great effort into controlling piracy.
Moderate FTL Traffic These routes are moderately expensive to travel: J:3-4 The higher cost of interstellar portage for J:3-4 ships limits them to more profitable markets with higher value goods.
  • Naval patrols tend to be limited and systems must rely on local space navies for defense. Corsairs are known to take advantage of such systems.
Fast FTL Traffic These routes are expensive to travel: J:5-6 Only Military Ships tend to possess these capabilities. The cost inefficiencies of these expensive ships limit them to the yachts of the rich or very specialized economic markets.
Breakneck FTL Traffic

(Future Technology)

Unrealized J-7+ Hop Drive technology is maturing and may eventually become operational.
  • No current ships using TL-15 technologies possess these capabilities.

History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

The trade routes are typically the territory of the Imperium's largest trading companies.

Astrographic, Sociographic or Economic Routes?[edit]

A venerated astronomer such as Tomasii Dzones-Arkuledii might argue that there is no such thing as a sociographic trade route. The stars and the distance between them were created billions of years before the current interstellar order. Trade Routes are clearly astrographic features, not sophontic ones. Perhaps much longer ago if current scientific theory holds mistaken theory. In this view, a cluster or trace is synonymous with a grouping of stars, which is in turn synonymous with a trade route.

A scientifically educated interstellar merchant, perhaps a former scout, might counter that the naturally occurring trade routes have been enhanced through the use of jump bridges, waystations, and what are certainly sophontic creations. These are clearly more than star formations. Therefore a trade route is most certainly sociographic in nature.

Similar arguments with similarly minded sophonts have been occurring across Charted Space for millennia. It's probably just as true that a trade route contains astrographic, astronomical, and sophontic socioeconomic aspects. The Travellers don't care. They simply know that the Jump Drive works...

Trade Routes & Anomalies[edit]

Spacetime Anomalies have been known to significantly influence interstellar trade traffic.

These mysteries defy the laws of physics and spacetime. Some anomalies increase fuel consumption, cause increased wear on drives, or even cause misjumps. One thing is for sure, any wise starship captain is very careful to pay great attention to anomalies and avoid them when ever possible... except speculators, risk-takers, and those with the fabled Traveller Gene.

They also have significant effects on interstellar commerce, sometimes diverting mercantile traffic that might otherwise enrich a system.

References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

This list of sources was used by the Traveller Wiki Editorial Team and individual contributors to compose this article. Copyrighted material is used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author. The page history lists all of the contributions.