Pilots Trade Network Elite: Dangerous

New Carrier Owner’s Guide to Trading


Fleet car­ri­er trad­ing oper­ates on the same premise as loop trad­ing, but on a much larg­er scale. Car­ri­ers load (buy order) a com­mod­i­ty from a sta­tion for a low price, and then once full move to unload (sell order) at a sta­tion that buys that com­mod­i­ty for a high price.

While this advice is intend­ed for Affil­i­ate Car­ri­er Own­ers (ACOs) on the Pilots Trade Net­work (PTN) Dis­cord serv­er, most of it is applic­a­ble to any car­ri­er own­er who wants to trade.

Self-hauling vs advertising for haulers

With a Fleet Car­ri­er, you have the unique choice of whether to load the car­ri­er your­self for max­i­mum prof­it – at the cost of your own time and effort – or to adver­tise for oth­er CMDRs to come and haul for you. In the PTN we refer to these lat­ter as “trade mis­sions”. Trade mis­sions do require some time and effort to set up, and they only grant you a frac­tion of the poten­tial prof­it, but they’re also the clos­est to “pas­sive” income that Elite offers and it’s a lot of fun to pro­vide oth­er CMDRs with oppor­tu­ni­ties for prof­it! This guide will assume you’re run­ning a trade mis­sion, but the same prin­ci­ples also work for self-load­ing/un­load­ing.

What to trade

The pri­ma­ry com­mod­i­ty for car­ri­er trad­ing is Agro­nom­ic Treat­ment (or Agro for short); this com­mod­i­ty can often be bought for around 3k cr/t, and sold for 30k cr/t, for about 27k total prof­it per ton. Some­times oth­er com­modi­ties will also pro­vide good mar­gins, but these usu­al­ly come with some kind of a catch, like an M‑Pad or a rare BGS state, or lim­it­ed supply/demand. Agro is good because it’s reliable.

Finding a station

When look­ing to find good trade sta­tions, use Inara.


On Inara, good load­ing sta­tions can be found by click­ing DATA then COMMODITIES and then e.g. Agro­nom­ic Treat­ment, then look­ing under the Sup­plies tab (exam­ple). Just make sure the sta­tion you’re look­ing at has enough sup­ply to fill your fleet car­ri­er (and any oth­er PTN car­ri­ers already present). e.g. if your car­ri­er can hold 20,000 tons of car­go, make sure the sta­tion has at least 20,000 tons of Agro­nom­ic Treat­ment avail­able. Rule of thumb is to allow 20k tons per car­ri­er present, so if three oth­er car­ri­ers are load­ing from emp­ty at the same sta­tion, you’d prob­a­bly want to make sure there was at least 4*20k = 80k sup­ply total. Oth­er­wise, you might have to move your car­ri­er mid-load!


Good unload­ing sta­tions can be found under the Best Imports tab (exam­ple); here, you want a demand of 0 as this means the sta­tion will buy an unlim­it­ed amount of your commodity!

Data age and filtering

While search­ing for sta­tions, check when the data was last updat­ed – any­thing old­er than a day or two is high­ly unlike­ly to still be valid as prices can change about once every 24 hours dur­ing the dai­ly BGS “tick”.

Also, remem­ber when pick­ing your tar­get sta­tion to fil­ter out small pads, sur­face sta­tions, and car­ri­ers, and to check its dis­tance from the Bub­ble (you don’t want to acci­den­tal­ly send CMDRs to Colo­nia or some ran­dom out­put 500ly from Sol!).

Setting up

Once you’ve locat­ed your sta­tion, go vis­it it in a ship to dou­ble check the sta­tion price and obtain the sys­tem map. Once you’ve checked your sta­tion price, jump your car­ri­er to the body on which the sta­tion orbits. Try to avoid gas giants as they length­en trade loops and can be frus­trat­ing for haulers; if there’s absolute­ly no oth­er option, con­sid­er using the Orrery view and park­ing your fleet car­ri­er at one of the giant’s moons.


PTN’s Cer­ti­fied Car­ri­er Own­ers (the offi­cial “P.T.N.” tagged car­ri­ers, for which mis­sions are found in #offi­cial-trade-alerts or on our sub­red­dit) are required to offer haulers at least 10,000 cred­its per ton prof­it on any trade. While this is not a require­ment for ACOs, it is still rec­om­mend­ed as it’s high­ly unlike­ly haulers used to 10k/t+ will go for any­thing less, espe­cial­ly as oth­er ACOs and CCOs will be offer­ing more.

This means that if your load­ing sta­tion is sell­ing Agro for 3k/t, your car­ri­er would set a buy order for at least 13k/t. If your unload­ing sta­tion is buy­ing Agro for 30k/t, your car­ri­er would set its sell order to at most 20k/t. In this instance, you as the car­ri­er own­er make 7k for every ton sold.

Alter­na­tive­ly, you can go the self-haul­ing route! Self-haul­ing means you get the full prof­it yield on every trade – a full agro self-load­/un­load cycle is worth more than half a bil­lion in pure prof­it – but obvi­ous­ly it also takes con­sid­er­ably more effort on your part.


Adver­tis­ing your car­ri­er to var­i­ous plat­forms alerts haulers to your trade mis­sion. For trad­ing in the #affil­i­ate-trade-alerts chan­nel, the for­mat is:

[CARRIER NAME] (123-ABC) is [loading/unloading] [COMMODITY] [from/to] [STATION] ([L/M]-pads) in the [SYSTEM] sys­tem, [PROFIT]k/u, [ORDERSIZE]k units.

If you have access to #affil­i­ate-co-chat, one of our mem­bers has cre­at­ed a bot to help with this. You can find infor­ma­tion on this in the pinned messages.

Remem­ber to keep adverts in the trade-alerts chan­nel brief.

Adver­tis­ing your car­ri­er to red­dit is also rec­om­mend­ed: good sub­red­dits for this are r/EliteTraders and r/EliteCarriers. Do NOT post your car­ri­er ad to the main Elite Dan­ger­ous sub or they will ban you!

If you want to add a bit more pizazz to your ad, mis­sion images are a great way to grab more atten­tion from haulers on red­dit and show off your fleet car­ri­er at the same time. The bot in #affil­i­ate-co-chat can cre­ate images for you. Alter­na­tive­ly, for some­thing more per­son­alised, you can use any graph­ics pack­age you’re com­fort­able with, but for an easy way to get start­ed try the online tool at Can­va. Inkscape is a free and open source vec­tor graph­ics tool if you want to try your hand at cre­at­ing a logo for your car­ri­er, and Pho­to­pea is a free online alter­na­tive to Photoshop.

Asking for help

Nev­er be afraid to ask for help in our #affil­i­ate-co-chat chan­nel! (Or, if you’re not an ACO, our pub­lic #fleet-car­ri­er-chat chan­nel.) We have a bunch of expe­ri­enced users who are delight­ed to answer gen­uine ques­tions from a new car­ri­er own­er (or trad­er!) who wants to learn. And if you’re not already a PTN ACO, feel free to come on down to our Dis­cord and check us out. The ACO posi­tion is a sim­ple, acces­si­ble way for any of our Dis­cord users who own a Fleet Car­ri­er to use our plat­form to adver­tise their trades, or oth­er­wise get involved in our com­mu­ni­ty. You can find instruc­tions on how to apply in the #become-a-car­ri­er-own­er chan­nel in the LANDING PAD sec­tion at the top of the Dis­cord server.