A lot of people are having trouble with trade ships, and a lot aren't sure whether the problems are bugs, features, or something they are doing wrong. There are a lot of individual responses to questions out there, but not really a consolidated thread rolling them all up. This guide format looks good for that, so here we go.

There are some issues I've encountered directly which I'll talk about in this guide, and at least one (to start with) that has been posted about on the ES forum.

The guide will go over the bugs I've seen or heard about, and I'll differentiate whether or not I know a fix will work (Everything I've mentioned to start with works, but I'll expand the guide as more issues crop up).

if I get any comments (or run across forum posts) that point out additional bugs as well as how to fix them, I'll include them in the guide.

I'll be continually updating the guide (including adding in-game pictures, which I can't do at the moment, building this at work as I am. 

Frozen ship - Stuck next to the dock not movingEdit

There are several causes to this, some deliberate and some bugs.

  • Deliberate: You do not have any cargolifter URVs in your freighter.
    Freighters require URVs to transfer cargo. Some docks have cargolifters themselves and can transfer cargo even when the freighter does not have any. However, if the dock doesn't have them, and the freighter doesn't, then the trade will not complete - Your freighter will just sit there and do nothing (it also may pull up to the dock, give a 'successful trade' comm message, and move out... without transferring any goods.
    You can buy cargolifters through a shipyard (there is one in DeVries if the Argon shipyards are locked for you). Alternatively, you can hack them into your save file if you can't find them elsewhere (discussed in another section, adding them through the save file can often be the only option, as the ability to purchase them through shipyards may not show up at all when building or upgrading a ship (Bug)).
  • Bug: You are trying to sell more items than you have.
    There is a bug with the sales menu - the 'amount to sell' defaults to what the station is looking for, even if you don't have enough in your freighter. The freighter pulls up to the port, and tries to ship the items requested... it doesn't have them, so it just sits there. More details (and the fix) can be found here:

    Quick summary on how to fix it, delete your jobs from that ship in your save file (gone over in the link above and in the save file section here)
  • Bug: Your URVs are 'busy' when they shouldn't be.
    For some reason, URVs can get stuck in 'busy' and be unavailable to your freighter, even if you have plenty of them. When looking at your ship details, you will see, for example, 50 URVs and 41 of them are unavailable. If the freighter can't transfer the goods with the URVs it has available, it will sit and wait until the URVs return... which doesn't really help since the URVs aren't really busy.
    Fixing this requires a save file edit, discussed in the save file section.

Ship not even trying to trade (Including insufficient fuel errors)Edit

Barring fuel issues, your trading ship will eventually complete their trade. They can take a long time to do so, however. I've seen ships fly 40k away from a station, then turn around and come back to get to the docking port... even when they are doing two trades in a row at the same port!

There are some issues with the freighter following you around out of zone when it should be completing the trade... if so, fly back to the zone you want the trade to take place in and wait around - the freighter will complete it's trade when your co-pilot isn't distracting it with rendezvous orders.

There are also some issues with the economy system not refreshing until you change zones. So, if you are sitting there watching your freighter and it's doing nothing, leave the zone and see if that does fixes it.

And yes, I realize those last two paragraphs are contradictory. But what can you do?

Fuel: Your capital ships require fuel to jump between sectors. If your freighter has no fuel, it'll follow you faithfully around inside a sector, but it'll send you a message about insufficient fuel once you ask it to rendezvous outside of its current sector.

When you get that insufficient fuel message, the pilot of the capital in question shows up in your comm monitor for a few seconds. Click on that face. You will get three choices:

1) Buy fuel - The ship will move to a zone where it can buy fuel cells. Considering the ship doesn't currently have the ability to jump, it can take a LONG time to do so. But depending on where it's out of fuel, up to an hour of play later, you'll suddenly see that ship swanning along with you.
2) Follow without jumping - Your capital can also move without fuel. This is also the default should you not click on the pilot and choose one of these. Your capital will get to you eventually (if you stop moving around). But it'll be a while. You can watch it's progress by clicking on your property and hitting 'SM.' You might find more entertainment watching your grass grow though.

3) Wait for me - I've never actually clicked on this, so I have no idea if it actually works or your ships will keep trying to follow you. (Post in the comments below if you have any experience on this).

Save File Editing (Trade Ship)Edit

All of this assumes you know how to open the xml file in notepad++ or an alternative and be able 1) find your save file and 2) search that file.

Finding your trade ship in your save file:

The easiest way to find your trade ship is to search for a ware that is on that ship. For example, if you are holding 200 energy cells, search for:

<ware ware="energycells" amount="200"/>

Pick a ware you think you've got a unique of, such as 842 fusion reactors.

If, however, you can't find a unique ware or your ship isn't carrying anything, then you'll need to find the ship manually.

Searching for owner="player". The player doesn't own a lot of assets, so it won't take you forever to scroll through all the find results. You are looking for something similar to this:

<component class="ship_l" macro="units_size_l_kit_hybrid_02_macro" connection="space" attackmethod="hitbymissile" attacktime="32775.1" owner="player" knownto="player" id="[0x2d962]">
The macro will be different depending on what type of freighter you have, A container ship should have a "units_size_l_kit_container_01_macro" macro.

Scroll down once you see a contender to look at the wares to verify it's the right ship.

Editing Drones:

The code for what drones you have is found here:

<summary state="wrecked" connection="connection_turret_small_mg04"/>
<summary state="wrecked" connection="connectionfor_units_size_l_carrier_kit_extender1_b"/>
<summary state="wrecked" connection="connectionfor_units_size_l_carrier_kit_extender2_d"/>
<item macro="units_size_xs_transp_empty_macro" amount="50"/>
<item macro="units_size_xs_transp_empty_macro" amount="15"/>
Adding drones is easy, the first item macro line is the number of freight drones you have. Add more (or copy and paste the entire line into your save file).

If you do not have the ammunition section for your ship, then add all these lines prior to <gravidar/> or <lastglobalanimation:

<item macro="units_size_xs_transp_empty_macro" amount="50"/>
See more detail on adding the ammunition section here: (Thanks to vahadar).

Removing 'unavailable' drones is, again, easy. Delete the 'item macro' line you see in between the 'unavailable' tags. If I want 100 transport drones and none unavailable (aka bugged), I'd have the following code:

<item macro="units_size_xs_transp_empty_macro" amount="100"/>

Editing cargo:

<component class="storage" macro="storage_ship_l_container_01_macro" connection="shipconnection" id="[0x2d965]">
<summary connection="cargo">
<ware ware="energycells" amount="4000"/>
<ware ware="fusionreactor" amount="832"/>
<ware ware="reinforcedmetalplating" amount="734"/>
<ware ware="bioopticwiring" amount="332"/>
<ware ware="shieldgenerator" amount="44"/>
<ware ware="plasmaturret" amount="45"/>
<ware ware="machinegunturret" amount="84"/>
Cargo is stored by type. You can store any container item in a container ship, so it would be listed like the above. Fuel is stored separately, however.

<component class="storage" macro="storage_ship_l_fuel_01_macro" connection="shipconnection" id="[0x2d969]">
<position z="-6.07544"/>
<summary connection="cargo">
<ware ware="fuelcells" amount="1200"/>
In this example, I've got 1200 fuel cells in this freighter.

Removing trade jobs:

Your freighter can get stuck in a job, and everything you try in order to fix it won't work. Deleting jobs will clear the freighter's queue and hopefully let you set up the job again.

<trade id="[0x372f]" seller="[0x1b3a88]" ware="drp_surfaceminer_mk2" price="66738" amount="10" min="10"/>
Deleting the trade ID line(s) here will clear that job. When editing this, I've deleted all the jobs and started from scratch - I've found it's more reliable, as the second job doesn't always start when it was stuck on the first.


Another community guy is consolidating save file edit instructions, for those who may want to edit something else:


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