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This gives a rundown of the strengths and weaknesses of each type of hauling craft.
Primary use: Small, moderately expensive freight through hisec and/or lowsec (fast transports) or bulky, less expensive freight through hisec only (bulk transports)
Tech 1 industrials can be divided into two classes: fast transports (those marked with a * below) and bulk transports. The fast transports can be used to move low-volume, high-value goods quickly and safely, while the bulk transports have much higher capacity but are slower and and have less tank. For example, the Wreathe can be fit to align in as little as 4 seconds while having 22k EHP, but would only have a cargo capacity of up to 4,622 m3. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a Bestower can be fit to carry up to 39k m3 but will take at least 13 seconds to align and have less than 8k EHP. To that end, fast transports can be fit to transport material through lowsec relatively safely, whereas bulk transports should be restricted to systems known to be safe unless accompanied by an escort, e.g. an OOC alt.
For fitting, industrials tend to have base powergrid around the level of destroyers and quite high amounts of CPU, which is mostly used by a shield tank. The low slots are often filled with expanded cargoholds, though these can be swapped out with inertia stabilizers nanofibers for smaller hauls to increase agility, thereby decreasing align time and cutting down a little on travel time. Agility mods are especially important on fast transports operating in low security space. If looking to do a lot of distribution missions or otherwise do a lot of traveling, warp speed rigs (Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizers) can cut travel time by more than half.
Each race has its own industrials, which require their racial Industrial skill -- for example, Amarr Industrial. These skills cannot be trained on a trial account and each racial skill is the prerequisite for the racial freighter skill. The Tech 1 industrials get 5% bonuses to cargo capacity and either agility (fast transports) or velocity (bulk transports) per level.
The four races do not all have the same number of Tech 1 industrials, and which race's industrials will offer the highest cargo capacity depends on the amount of training time you are prepared to invest.
The Bestower offers you the best potential cargo capacity for general cargo but has less than 8k EHP when fit this way. Meanwhile the Sigil is an overall poor industrial ship.
The Badger has the highest base cargo capacity of the fast transports. The Tayra has the least potential capacity of the bulk transports but the highest base capacity and highest tank, however it is outperformed in fast, secure hauling by the Badger and in bulk hauling by the other races' bulk transports.
The Minmatar industrials are significantly faster than other industrials in the same ship class. They manage this speed without sacrificing tank or cargo capacity, making them ideal for doing distribution missions or even for lowsec hauling.
The Gallente have several specialized ships, while the non-specialized fast/bulk transports give good all-round performance.
- Nereus *
- Kryos, dedicated mineral bay
- Epithal, dedicated planetary commodities bay
- Miasmos, dedicated ore bay
- Iteron Mark V
* - Can be gained free from the Industry career tutorials
Blockade Runners (T2 Industrial)
Primary use: Relatively small and/or very expensive cargo through lowsec/nullsec/wspace.
Both types of Tech 2 industrial require the Transport Ships skill, and both have abilities which make them better at surviving trips to lawless space. Both also have the same two 5% per level bonuses to speed and capacity for their racial industrial skill that the Tech 1 industrials have (and you need all five levels of the racial industrial skill to fly them in the first place). Naturally, they also cost a lot.
Blockade runners align much faster than their Tech 1 equivalents, have a bonus to 5% warp speed per level, and, most importantly, a bonus that lets them fit covert ops cloaking devices (and hence warp while cloaked). This means that even in nullsec the only dangerous moments for a properly-fitted and -flown blockade runner should be when it has to pass through stargates. The trade-off is that blockade runners carry less cargo than their Tech 1 equivalents.
Blockade runners are also one of the few classes of ship able to use the covert jump bridges opened by black ops battleships.
- Amarr : Prorator (largest with/mod cargo capacity)
- Caldari : Crane (largest non/mod cargo capacity)
- Gallente : Viator
- Minmatar : Prowler
Deep Space Transport (T2 Industrial)
Primary use: Very bulky, expensive cargo through highsec or scouted lowsec.
Unlike blockade runners, deep space transports have a larger capacity than their Tech 1 equivalents. They also have a fleet hanger that holds (base) 50,000m^3. They have bonuses to active tanking, either shield resistances or armor resistances, helping them to fit substantial buffer tanks. Finally, they get a unique role bonus of 100% to overheating benefits of Afterburners, Microwarpdrives, Local Repair Modules, and Resistance Modules.
They also have a role bonus of +2 warp strength: this means they can't be tackled by just one warp disruptor or non-faction warp scrambler, though they can still be caught by bubbles, gangs of tacklers or HICs.
Where blockade runners are meant to rely on speed and stealth to slip by the enemy, deep space transports are designed to bust their way through the enemy, relying on their warp strength and tanking abilities to escape. This probably won't work against a determined and well-prepared gatecamp, and using a deep space transport indicates to all and sundry that you have cargo you want to protect, so you should think carefully before deploying one.
All DSTs have a base 50k m3 fleet hangar which can hold any type of cargo, even packaged battleships. As such, fitting these ships for cargo is redundant since cargo rigs and modules only affect the much smaller main cargo bay. DSTs should be fit and skilled into to play to their active tanking and overheating bonuses in order to maximize survivability, as these ships will primarily be used to transport large quantities of high-value goods.
Primary use: Moving massive freight through hisec, often between trade hubs
Freighters are the ultimate cargo carrying ships, with vast cargo holds. Tech 1 freighters can sometimes be spotted on New Eden's major highsec trade routes, while the Tech 2 jump freighters are used to transport cargo out to nullsec. All freighters have no high, mid, or rig slots but with the Kronos expansion received 3 low slots, with restrictive CPU and Powergrid to limit the available modules with a role bonus to Reinforced Bulkheads. A freighter pilot's only other way of enhancing their ship's performance is via hardwiring implants.
Freighters are subject to certain restrictions: Assembled containers and assembled secure containers cannot be put in a freighter's cargo hold, so that pilots can't use containers to increase freighters' cargo capacity in the same way that they're used to increase the capacity of industrials. The Retribution patch removed the previously existing restriction on jetcans.
Use Freighters for huge cargo through high sec and very short distances into low sec. These require proper support (someone to web for faster aligns, scouts, preferably some EW). Remember that the Uni provides at-cost freighters to Uni members.
The four Tech 1 freighters are good for carrying very large amounts of cargo in high security space. They align and warp too slowly to be safely used in lowsec or nullsec. Freighters are very tough, but they are definitely not immune to suicide ganking -- organised and prepared groups of gankers can and do kill freighters.
All four freighters get 5% bonuses to cargo capacity and velocity per level of their pilot's racial freighter skill (Amarr Freighter, Gallente Freighter and so on). Since you must train the freighter skill to at least level 1, the base capacity of the ship is only used to calculate the actual capacity. It is worth noting that the Caldari freighters with Caldari Freighter 4 can hold more than any other freighter, even with their respective freighter skills trained to 5.
With the Kronos update, freighters and jump freighters all gained 3 low slots and reductions in cargo capacity. They can be fit to surpass their pre-Kronos cargo capacities with expanded cargoholds at the expense of tank. The tendency for freighter pilots to fit for maximum isk rather than maximum tank and then proceed to autopilot their freighters between trade hubs led to widespread ganking. As such, it is strongly recommended that pilots who unwisely opt to autopilot their ships fit reinforced bulkheads instead in order to protect their investments.
Note: These statistics are outdated as of the Kronos expansion.
- A cargo hold starting at a base of 735,000 m3 and a max of 918,750 m3
- A velocity starting at a base of 70 m/s
- Second most agile and second highest EHP.
- The largest cargo hold of the group, starting at a base of 785,000 m3 and a max of 981,250 m3
- The slowest velocity of the group, started at a base 60 m/s
- Least agile of the group.
- A cargo hold starting at a base of 750,000 m3 and a max of 937,500 m3
- A velocity starting at a base of 65 m/s
- Highest EHP of the group.
- The smallest cargo hold of the group, starting at a base of 720,000 m3 and a max of 900,000 m3
- The fastest velocity of the group, started at a base 80 m/s)
- Most agile of the group.
|Race (Freighter)||Base (m3)||Skill I||Skill II||Skill III||Skill IV||Skill V|
Jump Freighters (T2 Freighter)
The Tech 2 versions of freighters, jump freighters, have a reduced cargo capacity but are capable of using cynosural fields to jump long distances. They are also able to use stargates like normal ships. (Since cynosural fields cannot be lit in highsec, jump freighters travelling in highsec have to use stargates.) This makes them ideal supply ships for people who live in nullsec.
Jump freighters get 5% bonuses to cargo capacity and agility per level of the pilot's racial freighter skill, and 10% bonuses to shield, armor and hull hitpoints for each level the pilot has in Jump Freighters. The Jump Freighters skill also gives them a 10% per level reduction in jump fuel needs.
Jump Freighter Capacity
Note: These statistics are outdated as of the Kronos expansion.
|Race (Freighter)||Base (m3)||Skill I||Skill II||Skill III||Skill IV||Skill V|
Use Jump Freighters to carry cargo from the high/low sec border to wherever it is needed in null sec and back again. Caldari freighters are the largest, closely followed by Gallente, then Amarr and lastly Minmatar, which is partially compensated for by lower fuel use. The difference is not large though.
Jump freighters have much larger potential tanks than Tech 1 freighters when properly fit, but at the cost of a much reduced cargo bay. All jump freighters can exceed 500,000 EHP in tank, which makes ganking them in highsec extraordinarily difficult and expensive.
The Orca offers 4 different cargo holds:
- 30,000 m³ Cargo Hold which can be extended to 90,000+ m³ with skills and modules
- 50,000 m³ Ore Hold for unrefined mining goods (Mining, Ice Mining)
- 40,000 m³ Fleet Hangar which can also hold assembled ships
- 400,000 m³ Ship Maintenance Bay for assembled ships
All holds,hangars and bays can be scanned by a Cargo Scanner. However, due to how cargo scanners work, modules fitted to ships in the Ship Maintenance Bay and Fleet Hangar are not detectable by scanning.
However, the Orca requires a completely different skill set to most haulers. After the Odyssey skill changes, it will take 18d 19h 6m to train. This is a significant cut in training time from the old requirements pre-Odyssey.
There are situations where a small fast craft is better then a big lumbering beast. These include moving blueprints or other small volume, high value cargo. One option is a warpstab or nano-fit frigate with a propulsion mod to try and burn away from tacklers. However, the best option at this size is a Covert Ops Frigate, which can provide near-perfect safety if handled correctly.
Using a shuttle or untanked frigate to move through lowsec with high-value cargo is not recommended due to the danger of smartbombing battleships. An interceptor is the best option for moving through nullsec, assuming it is properly fit.
Amarr have the largest capacity T1 Industrial but otherwise tend to be outperformed by other races. Minmatar haulers tend to align and fly slightly faster than other factions, but don't sacrifice cargo or tank to do it, making them arguably the best industrials overall. Caldari have the largest capacity freighters, and unquestionably the tankiest T1 industrials. The specialized Gallente T1 haulers (and to a lesser extent the Minmatar ammo hauler) are extremely convenient if you regularly haul ore/minerals/PI/ammo.
To maximize flexibility, it's recommended that all new haulers train Gallente and Minmatar industrals to at least 3, and from there decide which race to train to 5 depending on what exactly it is you want to do.
Hauler Type Comparison
The best hauler is situational; it depends on where you are (high, low, null security space) combined with how large and valuable the cargo is. For example, using an Occator to move a cargo small enough to fit in a Viator is sub-optimal, as is using a Viator to move large amounts of tritanium around in high sec when you could use a Kryos instead.
Below are the optimal ships for each task, assuming that the area that you're going to/through is not a place where it's a clearly bad idea to bring such a ship type. As soon as moving through either null or low sec is required, you are strongly encouraged to switch to a Viator (blockade runner) or jump freighter.
The Orca is also a very interesting option for high security space. It offers cargo capacity somewhere between the T1/T2 industrials and jump freighters, while being able to travel almost as quickly as the smaller ships by fitting a 100mn micro warp drive and activating it for 1 cycle while aligning to the next gate or station.
- Hauling cargo with near-negligible volume: Shuttle or fast frigate (high), Interceptor (low/null)
- Hauling up to 10,000 m^3 (packaged cruiser) anywhere: Blockade Runner
- Hauling up to 15,000 m^3 (packaged battlecruiser) in highsec or lowsec: Fast T1 transport
- Hauling up to 30,000 m^3 (two packaged battlecruisers) in highsec: Bulk T1 transport
- Hauling up to 50,000 m^3 (packaged battleship) in highsec or lowsec: Deep space transport
- Large cargo of low value: T1 industrial, deep space transport or Orca
- Large cargo of medium value: Deep space transport or Orca
- Large cargo of high value: Blockade runner (even if you may get the job done faster with a DST, getting it there at all is better then not getting it there due to being ganked) or Orca.
- Huge cargo above ~50k m^3 below ~250k m^3 anywhere: Jump freighter (it aligns faster than a Freighter and has more tank)
- Huge cargo above ~250k m^3: Freighter (requires escort in low and null)
Ship Flying Skills
- Warp Drive Operation: Helps with long warps. Each skill level reduces the capacitor need of initiating warp by 10%.
- Spaceship Command: Reduces align time. 2% improved ship agility for all ships per skill level.
- Advanced Spaceship Command: May reduce align time. Grants a 5% Bonus per skill level to the agility of ships requiring Advanced Spaceship Command
- Evasive Maneuvering: Increases ship agility and acceleration. 5% improved ship agility for all ships per skill level.
Generally useful skills:
- Shield Management: 5% extra shields per level
- Shield Operation: 5% reduction in shield recharge time per level; level IV allows use of T2 shield boosters
- Shield Upgrades: 5% reduction in shield upgrade powergrid needs per level; level IV allows use of T2 shield extenders and rechargers
- <type-specific> Shield Compensation: 3% bonus per level in <type-specific> resistance for active hardeners (but only while they are NOT active!), 5% bonus per level for passive hardeners
- Get Shield Management and Shield Operation at least to IV
Particularly useful modules:
- Power Grid Management II & Tactical Shield Manipulation IV: Allows use of Adaptive Invulnerability Field II.
- Hull Upgrades IV: Allows use of T2 Damage Control. There is a trade-off with the cargo expanders typically used by haulers, however.
- Energy Grid Upgrades IV, Power Grid Management II, and Science I: Allows use of T2 Power Diagnostic Systems. Some shield tankers prefer these over Damage Controls for the boost in shield recharge rate (that recharge will not have time to make up for the ehp loss compared to a damage control before concord arrives, even in a 0.5 with a 13 second delay, but it can be combined with a damage control).
There are several types of tanking: buffer tanking, passive tanking and active tanking. Additionally, some buffer tanks are entirely passive (no active modules) and others include active resistances and damage control modules. The active modules must be turned on after every jump; remapping them to the F1-F8 keys makes this more convenient.
For high sec operation, the buffer tank is most common, as the goal is to survive the alpha strike (initial volley) of the attacking gankers and remain alive long enough for CONCORD to come and destroy the attacker(s).
T1 Industrials are typically buffer shield tanked. In most cases you will be using your low slots for cargo expander modules; so using shield modules that fit in the middle slots is the preferred route.
An example buffer tank fit would include 1x EM (or Kinetic, against Catalyst damage) Ward Ampplifier, 1x Thermic Dissipation Amplifier and 2-3x Medium Shield Extenders. One or two Adaptive Invulnerability Fields can also be used, but remember that requires capacitor to run and has to be restarted after every jump. A Damage Control II will also add a lot of buffer, but requires removing an Expanded Cargohold module.
For hauling, passive shield tank skills are key, followed by the ability to use a Damage Control II and Adaptive Invulnerability Field II. After that, armor tanking can be considered, but that takes away cargo space quickly as you burn up low slots with armor plates/hardeners instead of Expanded Cargohold modules. Note that specialized Gallente haulers like the Miasmos, Epithal or Kryos are mostly useful for their specialized holds and as such have no use for Expanded Cargohold modules. These ships can, and should, be fitted with tanking or agiliy low slot modules.
Visibly active tanking (most notably the Adaptive Invulnerability Field) might discourage ganking by the discriminating ganker, but your capacitor will not allow you o keep them running at all times. Remember turn them in when you align out of a gate and to turn them off once you are in warp. Turning them back on when you land at your destination gate is optional, but having them active as you land at a busy station like a trade hub is recommended.
For hauling in null sec, a Microwarp Drive is key for getting out of bubbles. These are best used on a Blockade Runner that can cloak.
When hauling, you should remember the following guidelines to avoid being ganked:
- Don't fly when wardecced.
- Don't fly AFK using the autopilot.
- Fit your hauler well & use the right ship.
- Don't haul expensive cargo in a flimsy ship.
- Know your route.
- Use insta-undock bookmarks at busy stations.
- Other tips and tricks
Never fly and industrial ship (especially not freighters/jump freighters loaded with lots of cargo) when your corp is wardecced. You will become easy prey and will quickly get turned into ashes, together with your expensive cargo. If you need to haul during wardec, drop wardecced corp temporarily and fly under NPC corp.
Flying AFK using the autopilot is the #1 way that most haulers lose their ships. When you use the autopilot to fly you to your destination, it warps you to 15km from the next gate then you slowly approach the gate at 100-200 m/s. At a minimum, this leaves you exposed for about a minute per gate and gives any potential attacker time to scan your ship, scan your cargo, then get ahead of you and setup a gank party.
If you must fly AFK, know your route, keep your cargo value very low, and fit as much buffer tank as possible. There are areas of space where flying AFK is reasonably safe, but the longer you do it, the higher the chances that someone will notice the pattern and try to take advantage of it.
Fit your hauler well & use the right ship
The more EHP that you have, the harder it is for the attacker to blow up your ship and steal your stuff. In the case of low/null security space, a WCS (warp core stabilizer) may be the difference between getting away and getting blown up.
For T1 industrial ships, you will want to fit as many medium/large shield extenders into the mid slots as possible. This should balanced with shoring up your weak EMP/Thermal resist holes using Adaptive Invulnerability Field modules or Shield Resist Amplifier modules. In cases where you need more EHP and can sacrifice cargo space, consider adding DC2 (Damage Control II) modules, reinforced bulkheads, or armor resist modules. A poorly fit T1 industrial hauler will only have 4k to 6k EHP, a well fit T1 industrial can have 10k to 20k EHP without sacrificing too much cargo space.
For Orcas, the standard fit is (2) Adaptive Invulnerability Field II and (2) Large Shield Extender II, with a DC2 in the low-slot. This takes your ship from around 60-70k EHP up to about 140k EHP. The addition of a Reinforced Bulkhead II will boost that up to 220-240k EHP. A fit using shield extender rigs instead of cargo rigs tops out at around 285k EHP. Alternatively, you can fit a 100mn MWD that can be used to significantly reduce align times by activating it for 1 cycle while aligning. It does however require a powergrid fitting mod, and you likely won't be able to fit large shield extenders. The vast majority of the Orcas tank come from the hull though, so that's not a problem as long as you have a DCII.
Blockade runners rely on good bookmarks, crafty use of their Covert Ops Cloak, MWD, and not fitting anything that would increase signature radius (no shield extenders). Due to their use of a covops cloak, well-flown blockade runners can be almost impossible to catch in hi-sec / lo-sec. So they are a good choice for more expensive cargo runs. But they are also very flimsy and can easily be ganked if you leave them uncloaked at a gate.
Deep Space Transports, used in high-security space, should be fit for hardiness to pack as much EHP as possible into the hull while still leaving enough room for your cargo.
Freighters and Jump Freighters have three low slots and can fit any combination of cargohold expanders, nanofiber structures, inertia stabilizers, or reinforced bulkheads. How you fit a freighter depends on what you want to do, but it is strongly recommended to fit reinforced bulkheads whenever possible and to not fit cargohold expanders unless absolutely necessary.
In the case of a "suicide" gank, the goal of the attacker is to trade their ship for your cargo. They do this by knowing how much ISK they will lose when their ship gets blown up by CONCORD and how much ISK your cargo is worth. Therefore your defense against a profit-minded attacker is to raise their costs while keeping the value of your cargo below the attacker's break-even point.
The simple rule of thumb for the smaller industrial haulers is:
3M ISK per 1k of EHP*
This means that if your ship has 8k EHP, you should not be carrying more than 24M ISK worth of cargo and fit modules per trip. The more that you exceed that ISK/EHP value, the more likely you are to get ganked. However, you can often get away with 4M-6M ISK per 1k EHP if you know your route, do not auto-pilot, and know the key risk factors. Another alternative is the 50 million isk maximum collateral for T1 industrial haulers used by eve hauling company MicroPush. They will haul cargo up to 50,000,000 isk and 17,000 m3 in size using T1 industrial ships. This gives an indication of what they consider to be safe for high sec hauling in that type of ship.
Key risk factors (which raise/lower the ISK/EHP calculation):
- System security
- Location (some systems are frequently camped)
- AFK traveling
- How shiny your cargo is
For freighters, which have about 180-200k EHP, the benchmark value is 1B ISK (one billion). As your cargo value exceeds 1B ISK, combined with traveling through systems with a security status in the 0.5-0.6 range, it becomes more and more likely that someone will gank you for your cargo value. This is a bit of a fuzzy rule of thumb and in the quieter portions of the galaxy with routes that take you only through 0.8 and above systems, you can get away with hauling higher value cargo loads for a very long time.
When you have expensive cargo above 1B to be moved in a freighter, you may want to consider double-wrapping it (create courier contract for some other alt of yours and then create another courier contract from this alt to actual freighter pilot). It will hide the contents of this package (assembled containers give same result), but some gankers tend to gank double wrapped transports without knowing what's inside, so most people (including hauling corporations) consider this will increase the risk, not decrease it.
- Personal opinion, and debated. Check the discussion page for further info. This rule can vary between 3-5M depending on current prices of the ships typically used to gank industrial haulers.
Know your route
Your best friend as a hauler in high-security space is knowledge of the local terrain. Which systems tend to be camped by gank parties. Which systems see frequent kills of haulers. Where are you likely to be cargo/ship scanned? The security status of the systems along the route. Scouting ahead with a fleet member.
Scouting, in low-security or null-security space, is a must-do if you are carrying anything expensive, or are not flying a blockade runner. In low-security space, a well-flown blockade runner is almost impossible to catch and it can usually get past most null-sec bubble camps.
Instant undock bookmarks
Busier market hub stations (such as Jita CNAP 4-4) will have people camping the undock 23x7, waiting for you to undock with something shiny in the cargo hold. Your #1 defense against this is to prepare an insta-undock bookmark ahead of time.
A good bookmark will get you off the station undock and out to a safe-spot before anyone has time to lock you, scan you and gank you. They are a must-have for Blockade Runners and rather important for the slower-aligning ships like Orcas and Freighters.
Other tips and tricks
Do not be predictable in your hauling of expensive items. Vary the time of day. Vary the route that you use. Change your ship name frequently.
Jump Freighters and Blockade Runners should be the only things hauling stuff in or out of null sec.
Speculative hauling is one way to make money from the market that's fairly easy to get into for a new player
Setting up an alt hauler can be very useful to ship goods around during wartime when your main can't fly an industrial ship.
If you have a high amount of ISK to devote to collateral, courier contract hauling can be a very good way to make ISK for haulers, given that you have a freighter or jump freighter to haul around the usually large quantities of contracted goods. One billion ISK (1,000,000,000 ISK) is a good estimate for how much money you will need to get started taking courier hauling.
If you're using your hauler in a mining operation (without an Orca), consider fitting a tractor beam to bring cans to you faster, as well as a salvager to make something of the inevitable rat wrecks. In addition, putting out a Mobile Tractor Unit can make it easy to pick up cans from other miners and then haul them to station (Make sure to have your drones on passive!). You could also fit a mining laser, but even a good one with pilot skills won't be getting much more than 100 m^3 per minute.
Haulers can also be used to make ISK via missioning, as described for Level 4 Cargo Missions.