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This means the ship owner must earn 0,000 of profit per ton of cargo.That is, selling price at destination MINUS purchase price at origin must be 0,000 or more.It has detailed analysis of the economics of interstellar trade, and a system of equations to model trade routes and economic demands.Sometimes the traders live in large "clan-ships", developing a "trader culture." Each ship is a world, carrying the entire clan. Novels including this include CITIZEN OF THE GALAXY by Robert Heinlein, STAR WAYS aka THE PEREGRINE by Poul Anderson, the Cities in Flight novels of James Blish, MERCHANTER'S LUCK and FINITY'S END by C. Cherryh, RITE OF PASSAGE by Alexi Panshin, A DEEPNESS IN THE SKY by Vernor Vinge.Therefore if the cargo was available for free at the origin the minimum selling price at destination is 0,000 per ton, or 0 per kilogram.The implication is that only very high value cargo can be profitably shipped interstellar.
This section is basically a rough outline of Rick Robinson's Interstellar Trade: A Primer.There is a long history of SF novels about interstellar free traders eking out a marginal existence on the fringes of the huge trader corporations, from Andre Norton's Solar Queen novels to the Space Angel series by John Maddox Roberts.Go to The Tough Guide to the Known Galaxy and read the entries "ECONOMY", "FREE TRADERS", "PIRACY", "REPLICATOR", "TRADE" and "TRADE FEDERATION".Therefore the starships will do fewer trips per year than airliners, so the starship passenger ticket price (and cargo waybill) will have to cover a larger share of the starship's yearly expense.For comparison purposes we need an airliner's average cost of running, but the corporations are remarkably closed-lipped about that.