In my time in EVE, very seldom have I stayed in one place for more than a few months at best. The reason for this has ranged from “hey guys, we gotta go back to high sec because we’re about to lose our space in null” to “hey guys, we gotta move again because there aren’t any targets here for us”. Regardless of the reason, an organization’s need to safely and efficiently move its own ships and equipment will be the immediate focus of all members at one point or another. When this time comes, dedicated logisticians become absolute rock stars.
Soon after joining Brave, I had to exercise the power of logistics to move my own gear along with those of fellow Brave pilots. Suffice to say that even after some time of space trucking inactivity, the old principles still hold true. Now let’s go over the options available for this task.
Tech 1 Racial Haulers – These are the first basic options available for any hauler pilot. Each race has a variant that can move several tens of thousands of m3 of modules, packaged ships, minerals, PI, or ammunition.
Specialized Tech 1 Hauler – The Epithal is a gallente T1 hauler that is specialized towards hauling planetary commodities. This is an excellent choice for doing PI in any type of space, especially if you need to move large amounts of material to be processed into higher tier planetary goods.
Blockade Runners – These specialized T2 haulers have the ability to warp while cloaked and are incredibly nimble. They make excellent haulers through low sec and are almost always used by wormhole dwellers.
Orca – This ship is more than just a hauler. It is specifically geared towards working with mining operations, in that it has an ore hold that can hold 50k m3 of raw ores, increasing its overall hauling capacity. It is also used primarily as a boosting ship that can provide added mining capabilities to a fleet such as increased mining laser range or shortening its cycle time.
Equipped with a 40k m3 fleet hangar, an orca can also serve to hold materials that can be accessed by fleet members such as extra mining crystals, drones, or other modules.
The Orca (left) is also the first line of ships that have a ship maintenance bay. This specialized cargo space can hold 400k m3 of fitted ships. In this case, a fitted ship is an assembled ship with modules fitted. The ships stored in this space may also have charges such as ammunition and drones loaded into the ship. The ship maintenance bay also serves as a remote fitting station for all fleet members from which they can load drones into the drone bay and swap modules.
In practice, an Orca can quickly serve as a mobile player owned station in hostile space such as wormholes. If one were so inclined, a cloak-fitted Orca can be used in wormhole space by day trippers as a means to hold several ships, a place to refit, and as a storage depot for goods harvested from the trip.
Bowhead – This specialized freighter is a dedicated mover of fitted ships, boasting a base ship maintenance bay capacity of 1.3 million m3.
Freighters – This class of haulers are the powerhouse of high-sec hauling. Their capacity can reach slightly beyond 1 million m3 of goods moved at a time, although they are painfully slow. The meta for logistical chains will almost always involve freighters due to their sheer capacity.
Carriers / Jump Freighters – For the purpose of hauling goods and fitted ships, these ships are very similar in their scope. These ships have drives that allow them to jump to cynosural fields in other systems within a certain range. This method effectively allows these ships to move several systems at a time in one jump through low or null sec space, bypassing the intervening stargates.
Now that we’ve reviewed the basic attributes of these ship types, let’s discuss how to employ them throughout an organization to allow for consistent power projection and sustainability in operations.
Logistics Chain – Simply put, this is the network in which war materiel travels from its point of origin to the hands of the pilots who will wield it. Depending on where you operate, your chain will probably include an assortment of the ships mentioned above, along with pre-staged “cyno alts” (flying cheap ships fitted with cynosural fields) in support of the jump-capable ships.
Logistics chains in wormholes are very different from those in known space; it is common to stage capable haulers both in K-space (usually high-sec) and in the home system in J-space simultaneously. This is mostly due to the nomadic nature of wormhole living. The need for this particular type of setup becomes evident especially when it comes to fueling your starbase (POS) and exporting gathered materials back to trade hubs for sale. Having only one set of haulers on either side of the wormhole will make these operations difficult, since it may be too dangerous to move, or extremely inconvenient to get fuel imported into the wormhole, due to how far the closest available regional trade hub is to your K-space exit. In my experience, I found it efficient to have an Orca staged in high-sec to deliver fuel to the wormhole, and blockade runners to deliver gathered goods to the closest possible NPC station, which I then take to market at the next convenient opportunity.
Sustainability On The Fringes – If you live in deep null space, then I’m sure you’ve seen the direct impact of a comprehensive logistics chain. The ability of any entity to supply its pilots with the tools needed to provide military coverage of its space is of the greatest importance. In this sense, haulers are a strategic tool in any leader’s arsenal. Unlike tactical weapons such as ships and modules, haulers operate and affect the battlefield on a much larger scale.
As line members, we often don’t see the big picture. However, all we sometimes care about is that doctrine ships are ready to be bought on contract in our home system, and that our loot and ores make it safely back to market. We forget that someone, somewhere, had to stay up at all hours of the night, and risked their incalculably expensive jump freighter, to ensure we are provided with what we need to engage content in the game, and to get our loot to Jita.
I hope I was able to highlight some of the working class heroes of the game. The next time you see a friendly hauler diligently at work, do us all a favor and thank them. Fly safe, and good fights!