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shotgun tramp


It is always been assumed that all large multi-ship lines are pursueing a route like a bus. Couldn't there be a line composed of just tramps(not exactly a line as it doesn't run a schedule). It would have a chain of ships sent in different directtions to cover a large number of markets.
More complicated it would have a sort of a franchise where it would sponser a large number of tramps some belong directly to the company but most are indepentant. They would be given a discount on the purchase,hiring, and maintenence of ships and personal, in return for information. This company would use the information from it's wandering tramps to find good markets-and vice-versa the traders could follow the companies tips. The advantage of this system is it could keep a hand in the game over a incredibly wide area but suddenly shift according to market vageries. It would also have an infrastructure including a reserve of funds-even ships perhaps, and outposts for the ships to come back to with their gains.
This company would be
Jatay Freetraders LIC
Darn, I thought this thread was going to be about Courtney Love. ;)

This sounds similar to a concept the players in my very first Traveller campaign were trying to implement. They also were going to use system defense boats as anti-piracy deterents at the company's most popular destinations and/or refueling stops. They figured (correctly) the merchant ships weren't vulnerable while they were in jump, so only needed protection while they were in a system.

Unfortunately, they didn't get very far implementing their plan before the campaign came to a sudden, unplanned end, and we never started it back up again. :(
This is how I picture the frontiers to be. The tramps come in, find the markets, and develop them. The large multi-ship lines pursuing a route come after many years of tramp information. As the frontier worlds Tech Levels rise, the ship routes are put in place, forcing the tramp out further. Thus expanding the frontiers and the Imperium. :D
A concept I've been toying with IMTU is a daily tramp flight from system to system. Granted, lag time is still one week, but if a company can accumulate significant payloads and move them without having to purchase or charter a mega-hauler, then up'ing the number of flights per week would be a viable strategy. Plus the daily incoming/outgoing schedule is a major selling point to customers in a hurry to move their freight.

There are plenty of examples of this going on in the aviation cargo market today. In this case, you don't need an Antonov AN-124 or B-747-400 freighter to move a significant amount of cargo economically; a number of companies do it with B-727 and smaller aircraft. Even Fedex and UPS still use DC-8's and DC-9's.
I've done the "Liveried Tramps" before.

"Aramis Trace Lines - Anywhere on the trace, as soon as we can" All ships were J2, and corporate owned. Skippers had no discretion - the company existed for the brokers.

Due to the lack of discretion (and the trader rolls being made by the brokers), skippers and crew were granted extensive profit sharing, competitive salaries, and exquisite retirement. Y'see, each ship would arrive, and the broker would look at what he'd bought cheap, and stored in the company warehouse. Then he'd load it up, while the crew took a rest day down. Then they'd go where he told them. Each ship had an assigned group of worlds... and the broker couldn't send them outside that area. So crews were in system less than 4 days! (one in, one unload, one load, one out). I figured the capital costs would be otweighed by the flexibility.

A player group once did something similar. They developed an extensive reputation. So they trained and monitored a few additionals, and allowed them to use the "Line Livery", so as to polish their own reps by association. (Essentially, they treated mids as highs, for mid price, and took no high passengers at all.) I figured this would give them a boost to potential mids on worlds they were known on. Then they started to advertise...