Fleet Carrier trade is simple because it works on the same principle as normal player trades: buy low, sell high. The difference is that Fleet Carriers can hold tens of thousands of tons of a commodity, park right next to their target station, and travel across the entirety of human-controlled space in a single hyperjump.
What’s more, because they can park in-system next to almost any station, you can trade between a Fleet Carrier and a Station with just a few seconds in supercruise each way rather than a long jump between systems. This makes turnaround for Fleet Carrier trade missions extremely fast for haulers and is what makes the credits:hour ratio so lucrative (and the gameplay loop so chilled!).
Fleet Carriers function much like normal space stations. When they’re in the same system as you, they appear in your Navigation panel (left-hand cockpit MFD, first tab) and can be flown to in supercruise. Once you arrive and have dropped out of supercruise, you can request landing at 7.5km in the same way as a normal station. All Fleet Carriers have Large landing pads available, and all P.T.N. carriers will have at least Refuel, Rearm and Repair services available as well as the Commodity Market. You can access the Commodity Market just like you would from a station, only the menu layout is ever so slightly different.
P.T.N. Fleet Carrier loading missions require pilots to fly to a nearby station and buy as much as they can carry of a specified commodity from the station’s Commodity Market, then fly a brief trip in supercruise to the Fleet Carrier and sell it to the Fleet Carrier’s Commodity Market. Every mission advert will tell you the following information:
Loading a Fleet Carrier is as simple as doing this trip from station to Fleet Carrier, buying low and selling high, as many times as you like until the Carrier is full. All P.T.N. Fleet Carriers guarantee at least 10,000 credits of profit per unit that you haul so a full cargo Type 9, able to haul 784 tons, would earn at least 7.84 million credits per round trip. Factor in the fact that trips between the Station and Carrier usually take less than a minute (because Carriers are able to park so close) and you can see how easy it is to make money quickly.
Unloading is the same as loading except you buy from the Carrier and sell to the target Station. Also, unlike with loading, you earn trade rank for selling from a Fleet Carrier to a Station. Often if you find an active PTN trade mission and are around when the Carrier finishes loading, you can ride the Carrier’s hyperjump to its unloading system – ask in the Carrier’s channel on our Discord server or in the Reddit comment thread to see if this is a possibility. Fleet Carrier hyperjumps take 15 minutes to complete and will carry all ships (and CMDRs!) on board with them when they jump, so this can be a great way to get your big heavy Type 9 halfway across the Bubble even with a 10ly jump range and no fuel scoop!
Our Fleet Carrier trades target commodities where the margins available on a galactic scale are able to support large profits for haulers on both ends of the journey (loading and unloading). The most common commodity is Agronomic Treatment. Let’s say one station is selling Agro for 5,000 credits per unit, and another one a hundred light years away is buying it for 30,000 credits per unit.
The Fleet Carrier would set its buy price when loading to at least 15,000 credits per unit. You would buy at 5k and sell at 15k, which is 10k profit.
The Fleet Carrier would then unload and sell for 20,000 credits or less. You would buy for 20k and sell to the station for 30k, which is another 10k profit.
The Carrier’s owner would earn the 5k “in the middle”, i.e. the difference between the 15k it bought for and the 20k it sold for.
Other possible commodities include gold and silver, but these are harder to find and often rely on our team of scouts and BGS wizards to procure. We are also able to pay far higher margins for loading the Carriers that support our WMM operation: even if you don’t participate in the WMM operation yourself, you can still make a lot of money loading the Carriers that do.