Interplanetary trade is an important and highly lucrative industry that needs to run like a well oiled machine. As billions of tons of goods are shipped throughout the Republic, as the frontier worlds need the refined materials from the core worlds and the core worlds need the raw materials of the frontier. This constant supply and demand creates robust and well patrolled trade lanes throughout the territory, with many of the well built and well defended planets forming on said trade routes. These trade routes also formed due to a number of different reasons, one of them being the FTL drive that the Fens use which is based on hyperspace intersystem travel, with ships traveling along already formed hyperspace lanes. Another factor that caused these trade lanes to form was do to the fuel source that is used on all Republic ships, and that this the use of highly potent oily substance known as Fenvarium. So these planets would also form as pit stops for ships to rest, refuel, restock their stores and off load their cargo.
How does it work?
In order to get cargo off a planetary surface, it is loaded up onto transport shuttles. These shuttles are packed as tightly and efficiently as possible in order to save both fuel and costs. The shuttle then takes off from a surface based space port, where it will fly directly out of the planetís breathable atmosphere to the station that is over head. As the shuttle only has enough fuel to get from the surface of the planet to the station, after which it would need to refuel.The shuttle will land at the station, where the longshore personnel will off load the cargo. At this time, the shuttle will refuel and then once the cargo is off loaded new cargo is then loaded onto the shuttle and sent back.
Once the cargo is off loaded, it is then transferred to a larger cargo hauler that will transport the cargo to its intended destination. Which could be nearby planets, moons, asteroids, military bases, and so on. These haulers vary in size based on how much cargo it is carrying and range of the hauler, as well as the producer of said ship. These classifications are light, medium, heavy, and super heavy. Light haulers are designed for interplanetary trade, medium are designed for intersystem trade, heavy and super heavy are designed for international trade.
All of the cargo ships in the Republic have some armaments to defend themselves from pirate incursions. This includes an internal security force, several fully stocked armories spread throughout the ship to repel boarders. As well as automated internal defenses, which can range from hidden auto turrets to laser fencing.
When it comes to international trade, several haulers would form up into convoys with a number of merchant marine ships for added protection against pirate attacks. Due to the limitations of Republic ships and the rarity of Fenvarium outside of the nation, these convoys will also have several tanker ships accompanying them. So the fleet has a constant supply of fuel to get to their destination and back home.