Manufacturing and selling what has been manufactured is the heart of any economic system. However, the heart alone isn't enough; a circulatory system is needed to get the goods to where they are needed. Here you will find profiles of some of the major shipping companies of the Commonwealth.
General Freight and Passenger Firms
Ohtori Shipping Lines (OHL)
Largest shipping and transport company in the Commonwealth. Ohtori was originally an interface line that used castoff transports from the old Regency Navy to build up its fleet. Founded in IY 1130, the firm gradually built up its commercial presence through an opportunistic strategy that capitalized upon other companies's mistakes or misfortunes. Ohtori is Solomani Japanese for "Phoenix". The corporation has built its success upon smart leadership and tenacious competitiveness.
Ohtori is almost universally distributed throughout the Commonwealth, the Occupation Zones, and a good portion of the Outlands. The company controls fifty percent of the traffic in the trailing Commonwealth, and virtually monopolizes the Deneb-to-Drayne route. The company specializes more in freight than passengers, though twenty percent of its fleet are liners. The company maintains its main headquarters and maintenance yards on Magash/Sabine (Deneb 0316).
Ohtori's fleet ranges from small Type N transports like the Brahmin and Inauguration classes, to massive hundred thousand ton bulk carriers on the main trunk routes. A quarter of its ships are exclusive designs, and each class carries the "Phoenix" as part of its moniker. The most famous of its ships are the massive "Phoenix Crest" liner/bulk carriers that run between Mora and the trailing Frontier in Corridor.
Regency-era corporation that is now the second largest shipping company of the Commonwealth. Dominates the rimward Metropolitan and Frontier regions. Has extensive trade ties with Aslan and neighboring rimward states as far as Caledon and Daibei. Like Ohtori, the company prefers freight over passengers, leaving people moving to smaller, discount firms like Constellar and Venturprise. The most bankable asset of the company is not only its significant clout in foreign trade, but also its incredibly reliable service that has a very low loss rate of cargo due to theft or misdirection.
Lodestar virtually matches Ohtori in terms of service range and astrographic scope, but its largest operations center upon the People's Republic federation (Trojan Reach and rimward Spinward Marches sectors), particularly the busy Glisten-to-Riftspan route. Another major route wends its way from Five Sisters to Far Frontiers and Yiklerzdanzh, terminating at the breakaway Zhodani state known as Meichntid Ibl. Because of its extensive contacts with alien species outside of Deneb, a large percentage of its personnel are either trained in liaison, or are of alien origin. Despite its spinward success, the company is headquartered on Deneb/Usani (Deneb 1925).
Lodestar maintains a large fleet of less advanced bulk carriers, principally Imperial era TL-14 vessels like the Shuuhaniim and Sedarka or the TL-13 Adirondack, for foreign trade routes. Within the Commonwealth its fleet consists of larger, TL-15 vessels such as the Argosy class and newer TL-16 vessels like the Norway and Panama classes.
Galactic Halo (GH)
The Morning-STR corporation of Vincennes and Mora originally spun this company off in IY 1191 after it had served as its transport arm for more than sixty years. Still possessing access to most advanced technology of the Regency and Commonwealth, the company has often been seen as little more than a showcase for its homeworlds. Experienced industry veterans will attest that the company is more than just a pretty face, and they can point to all of the broken competitors the company has left littering the trail behind it. The company is relentlessly competitive, and extremely customer friendly.
Like its main competitors GH is virtually omnipresent in the Commonwealth and its main Frontiers. The company does its best business within the Metropolitan Commonwealth, where high volume enables it to charge discounted rates to shippers, particularly manufacturers on advanced worlds. Like all of the big shippers, freight is the main source of income. GH is still headquartered on Vincennes, though it maintains semi-autonomous offices and facilities on every TL-15 and 16 world in the Commonwealth.
GH ships are usually named with variations upon the color white (e.g., White Knight, Ivory Rook, Winter Wolf, etc.). The fleet tends to be a bit lighter, with more vessels of less than 1000 dtons, owing to the companies practice of direct delivery to customers. The most massive vessels include the Kaolin class Factory Ships, huge million ton vessels operated by the company at the behest of large institutional customers, including the Sangrails. The company's ships are mainly TL-15, with a growing number of TL-16 vessels coming out of newly opened commercial yards.
The smallest of the four major shipping companies. Its two predecessors, Sky River and Ginga Spaceways were originally one company that dominated the early Regency's freight industry. Corporate corruption and bad executive decisions eventually caught up with it, and the courts broke the company into two sections as the verdict of an antitrust complaint brought against it by the Ministry of Justice. Ginga went bankrupt due to soaring security costs and shareholder antagonism during the period leading up to the Crucible War; after the war Sky River was permitted to acquire the surviving assets of its sister, and Ming Spaceways was born out of the merger. The company banks upon its ability to woo customers with gimmicky advertising, and military style scheduling and service. The company has one of the most efficient bureaucracies of any corporation in Deneb, and is brutally cost conscious. Though not known for service or accessibility, the price of shipping a ton of cargo by Ming is murderously cheap.
Though generally well distributed throughout the Commonwealth, the company earns larger part of its profit from two widely separated regions where high cargo rates make it especially competitive: The Zhodani routes between High Zhdant Federation and Tienspevnekr sector, and the Rift Wall route between Tobia and Deneb. The company operates out of Pikha/Zeng (Deneb 1633) with secondary offices and maintenance facilities at every Federation capital.
Ming's fleet is mainly 5000 and 10,000 ton bulk carriers and liners. The latter include its famed Illuminari liner and the knock-off Sentinel class carrier. The largest ship fielded are the Photon class Morgue Liner/Bulk Carriers that operate on the spinward-to-Zhdant routes.
Raw Material Haulers
Leviathan Lines/Baraccai Technum
Baraccai Technum was an antebellum conglomerate with extensive holdings in the rimward part of the Domain of Deneb. The Rape of Trin of IY 1139 annihilated much of its corporate infrastructure and nearly bankrupted the firm. It survived by increasing the size of its Leviathan Lines transport arm, and decentralizing its operations to more aggressively pursue new profitable enterprises. The company has traditionally been a fierce rival of McClellan Factors (see below) in pursuit of new ventures. The company hauls mainly raw materials, including forty percent of the Commonwealth's imported strategic minerals from spinward and rimward.
Leviathan operates primarily on the "Mortal Coil": a mainly jump-2 route that wends its way from Five Sisters (Spinward Marches M) subsector, through neighboring Trojan Reach and Foreven Sectors, to Beyond, Far Frontiers and Vanguard Reaches. The company runs only freight outside of the Commonwealth's borders, but maintains limited passenger service between its headquarters on Glisten/Glisten, in triangulation with Lunion and Trin's Shroud subsectors, with Trojan Reach and Foreven.
Though the company no longer possesses its namesake merchant cruisers, it still has a heavily armed fleet of fast transports for spinward routes through the troubled areas of Beyond and Vanguard Reaches. The bulk of the fleet are massive Roman Highway class bulk carriers, supplemented by contractors operating on feeder routes with small bulk carriers like the Mastodon and Lotus classes.
Sovereign Shipping Lines/McClellan Factors
SSL was founded after the onset of the Imperial Civil War to exploit newly opened areas to spinward. McClellan had suffered a number of setbacks from its competition and unfavorable events in the previous decade, and the founding of the new company did not alter that trend. Only when McClellan shift temporarily to container cargo between the Domain/Regency of Deneb and other spinward states following the Collapse did it finally gain a foothold in these markets. McClellan is a fierce rival of Baraccai Technum (see above) and during the Civil War and Black Years these companies made each others lives miserable. The prevailing culture of the Commonwealth no longer permits violent competition like trade wars, and the companies have turned to nonviolent means (though just barely).
SSL mirrors Leviathan's operations in most ways. McClellan Factors moved its main facilities to Lunion/Lunion after the Crucible War, and most of its shipping firm's crews are now based out that system. Sovereign is most prevalent on the high volume route through the Kamrathi cluster leading into Daryen subsector. It also has an exclusive contract with several Foreven mining companies, including the infamous Anaconda-AX of Reidain subsector (Foreven L)
SSL still prefers container-carrying skytrains. Besides popularizing the Anaconda class, the company operates the massive Lacerta class of 100,000/200,000 tons displacement. Its feeder routes are host to smaller mining carriers, particularly container carrying ships like the Key Largo Type M2.
The oldest surviving shipping line in the Commonwealth, whose survival is all the more remarkable because of the fact that it has been owned by the same family since its founding in IY 487. A familiar sight in the rimward Spinward Marches for centuries, the company expanded during the Regency period into Gvurrdon sector, and even some areas of the Zhodani Consulate. The family was politically astute, though it vigorously resisted encroachment from Imperial-era Megacorps such as Tukera, and locked horns with reactionary elements during the Regency period. One such battle between CEO Isaac Oberlindes and the Black Regent led to the latter illegally freezing the company's assets in NE 32. Oberlindes retaliated by assisting the opposition, and provided logistical support to the Liberator during her run across Sabinar a few years later.
Its assets returned to it, the company has expanded its operations across most of the coreward Frontier, and runs merchant craft to remote New Era Vargr states like the Agithkhogh and Daekhgnurgael Empires, and the Citadel of Zuelgaerr in far off Knoellighz Sector. Most of its traffic comes from the region around the Windhorn, in regions formerly claimed by the late Varroeth Empire. Most of these transactions involve commodity cargos like precious metals and other valuable materials, often paid-in-kind with a comparable amount of manufactured goods or high tech services provided from the companies main offices on Regina/Regina and Gabrael/Millions.
Oberlindes has always preferred smaller bulk carriers, usually of around 1000 dtons. Their fleet includes newer TL-16 carriers like the Allspice and Charisma classes, but the majority are older TL-15 ships like the Star, Iris and Seeker classes. Oberlindes has always maintained a sizable fleet of former Naval or Scout/Patrol vessels, a practice it now supplements by long term retention of starmercs. Commonwealth laws prohibit these vessels from its spaceways, and nearly all operate out of remote systems in the Windhorn region.
The Commonwealth's largest tanker company. Forsch handles bulk fuel deliveries for a significant percentage of the Commonwealth's systems. Well known in shipping circles for its "Put some Forsch in your thrust" campaign slogan, the company refuels nearly one merchant vessel in three at any given moment. Forsch was originally founded in the antebellum period, but did not enjoy significant growth until the reopening of the Regency Frontier in NE 2.
Forsch is headquartered on Drayne/Khukish (Corridor 0910) and remains one of the few major corporations with a headquarters outside of the Metropolitan Commonwealth. The company made it big off of fuel processing in deuterium rich systems like Mikesh/Khouth (Corridor 0206) and Kumorle/Ian (Corridor 0513), and used its money to gradually build a strong presence in trailing Deneb sector.
The now ubiquitous Seventh Standard class tankers were first put into civilian service by FA, who acquired them in return for aid it rendered to the Liberator and her allies during the Crucible War. The company uses a series of smaller tankers,particularlyy the 20,000 dton Indian Wells class, for less visited systems and smaller starports.
Port Charlotte Lines (PCL)
Tanker line built as a joint venture between Magnetodynamics of Spinward Marches sector, and CF-Hercules. Though not as ubiquitous as Forsch Aquarius, the company dominates refueling industry in Trojan Reach and Rift sectors. Company's main assets are the famed "Deuterium Alley": an unusual cluster of six systems that run between Realgar/Albe (Trojan Reach 2213) and the worlds of Hradus/Tobia (TR 2714) and Hexx/Tobia (TR 2715) possessing deuterium rich gas giants.
PCL is universal, but is at its most dominating on the spinward and rimward routes of the Commonwealth Frontier. Subsidiaries operating in the remnants of the Aslan Hierate virtually control refueling along the booming Riftspan Reaches trade routes. PCL maintains its headquarters and main yards out of Port Charlotte Downport on Gazulin/Gazulin (TR 2708).
Virtually identical in composition to Forsch Aquarius. PCL owns fewer fuel extraction industries, and usually hires contractors to acquire bulk D2 for their processing.