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Items Versus Wares

It is important to understand the difference between Inventory (also known as items) and cargo (usually referred to as wares). Cargo is in your ship, while inventory is on you. Inventory is listed in the SHIFT+I menu under player information. It moves with you when you go (or later teleport!) from ship to ship. Cargo is listed in ship storage and can be seen in the ship info menu (Shift+Enter for your current ship or INFO option in the map).

Trade and Combat ships have CONTAINER class storage, which covers all tradeable goods that are manufactured. Mining ships can have either LIQUID or SOLID storage, which covers all materials that can be harvested from space. Trading with ship storage items happens with the TRADE menu when docking, while trading with inventory happens in-person with the trader found on a platform (look out for for the shop sign above the building).

Natural Resources

At the base of the Ware manufacturing chains are natural resources which have to be harvested and refined into useful products. Solar energy is converted directly into Energy Cells by Energy Cell Production modules while other Solid and Liquid resources need to be harvested by specialized Miner ships. Liquid resources are collected from flying in nebulae while solids require asteroids to be broken up and the fragments collected. The abundance of solar energy in a sector can be seen under the entry for the sector in the Galaxy category of the Encyclopedia.

  • Energy Resources (from suns):     Energy Cells produced by Solar Power Plants
  • Liquid Resources (from nebulae): Helium, Hydrogen and Methane (also known as gases)
  • Solid Resources (from asteroids): Ice, Ore, Nividium and Silicon (also known as minerals)


Price Development

The production and exchange of wares is key to any healthy economy and the X-Universe is no different. Despite fierce competition from NPC traders there are always gaps in the market for the player to fill and line their pocket with credits in the process whether it is using a small courier or a huge manufacturing complex.

Ware prices vary a lot depending on the quantity of the ware the station has in its reserves. For reference menus often show the average price of a ware to give a trader an idea of how good a price is. 

Gaining Info About Trade Offers

Trade Offers describe what wares a station, or it's Build Storage Module currently wish to buy or sell. Once Trade Offers are known for a station, they will begin to become out of date over time if whatever granted knowledge of them stops occurring. If the player ship has Trade Computer Extension software, it postpones the time before knowledge of Trade Offers begins to deteriorate.

Ways to gain trade offers from stations:

  • When the player ship, or other owned ships, are near them
  • When the station is within radar range of a player-owned Satellite or station
  • If the player has gained sufficient rank and cash to purchase a Faction's Trade Subscription (usually 10million Cr for large factions and around 1million Cr for minor factions)

Scanning station modules will reveal info on what wares it uses and creates.

How To Buy And Sell Items - Station Trader

Items are often found in space as loot (dropped by other ships), or in lockboxes and other storages. Some items can be useful in crafting special upgrades or useful items like the EMP bombs used in a spacesuit. Most however can be sold at a good profit. When on station platforms, the player can travel to the Trader's Corner and interact with the trader behind the counter and ask for them to "Show me your wares", opening the trade menu for items from the personal inventory. Use the sliders to buy or sell items and then click the Confirm button to complete the transaction.

How to Buy and Sell Wares - Ship Trading

When in the pilot seat of the player ship, the Ship Interactions menu will have the Trade option in the middle allowing the ship to trade with the station currently docked at. The trade menu works similar to the item trader menus, except the ship and station will trade wares from their storage with the type of wares able to be exchanged being limited by the storage type. Other player assets can be told to remotely trade by left clicking them in the Object List or Property Owned menu and then right clicking a target station and selecting Trade With to either trade with the station or its Build Storage (only present on expanding stations). Alternatively, after selecting a player owned ship the wares shown by the filter can be right clicked to open a trade menu to order the ship to buy/sell the wares for the best price within the viewed area of space. Wares on stations will be automatically sold to interested NPC traders by the manager or by player owned ships assigned to act as a subordinate for the station.

How To Transfer Wares Between Player Owned Ships - Ware Exchange

There will be times when it is preferable for wares or consumables to be on a different player owned ship or station. This can be to free up cargo space for other purposes, stock up a reserve ship for exploration, meet mission requirements or to keep fleets supplied. To transfer wares between ships or stations requires one of the assets to have Cargo Drones before left clicking the asset with the ware to transfer in the Object List or Property Owned menu and then right click a target asset in Map and select the Transfer Wares With action to open a trade menu allowing wares to be transferred between the two ships up to their respective capacities for the ware.    

Auto Trading and Auto Mining

Player owned ships that have captains with enough skill stars can be set to automatically find profitable transactions or to mine resources and sell them at nearby NPC stations. The AutoTrade and AutoMine behaviors are set as the Default Behavior under the Behavior menu (see below for info on mining). As opposed to an order, a Behavior is a permanent assignment for a ship until revoked. For AutoTrade and AutoMine the player must specify a whitelist of wares to trade before adjusting the leash range for how far to look for stations to buy and sell at. The ships will then be fully automated allowing the player to divert attention to other tasks.



Ships with Solid or Liquid storage types can harvest asteroids or nebulae, respectively. This generates resources (see above), which can be sold to NPC stations as a source of income that requires no operating costs. Alternatively, it can be fed into player-owned stations to act as the basis for manufacturing chains.

Resource Probes can be deployed at prospective mining sites to learn about the abundance of natural resources. In order to locate Solid natural resources, the player ship can use both Short and Long-range Scan Modes to help visually detect asteroids. Nebulae are represented as blue tiles, asteroid fields as red tiles and mixed collection sites as purple tiles on the Map. After use, Deployables like Resource Probes can be deactivated through the HUD menu, and collected by flying over them.

As of version 4.00 mining has been tweaked and here is an interpretation of what Bernd say in his stream for the release of 4.00 and Cradle of Humanity DLC.

Mining ships will only go to resource areas you have discovered. Yield from resource area with a resource probe will be compared to the average of the larger area it is in. If higher the mining ships will prefer that zone. If lower they will look for another spot to mine. This is important because the resources are not so plentiful anymore in 4.00.

Resource probes show two values for any resource detected. The left value is the current amount of resource, the right value in parenthesis is the maximum amount of resource possible at that location. This was derived from in-game observation and need to be confirmed by Egosoft.

Mining Turrets

  • Used to break up asteroids into small, collectable mineral fragments (Sold cargo)
  • Turret Settings are explained on the Combat And Weapons page
  • Once in range, Mining Turrets automatically open fire on asteroids within line-of-sight

Mining ships Piloted By Captains

Small and Medium Mining Ships:

  • These ships collect gases or minerals like other items and wares in space (on contact with the ship)

Large Mining Ships:

  • These vessels collect gases or minerals through the use of specialised collector drones

Ordering Ships To Mine

All player-owned mining ships can be ordered to mine using the Mine order by right clicking a resource region on the map and selecting the Mine order before left clicking a resource to harvest from the list. They can then be ordered to sell their wares to stations. Player-owned mining ships that have captains with enough skill stars can be set to automatically mine resources and sell them at nearby NPC stations (see "Auto Trading and Auto Mining" section above).

Manual Asteroid Mining For Solid Resources

Mineral mining with Small and Medium ships:

  • The Container Magnet (hold the O hotkey) can be used to speed up collection of mineral fragments.

Mineral mining with Large ships:

  • At this time, only NPC-piloted large mining ships will deploy and use their drones to collect mineral fragments.
    • Handing over control of the ship to the Captain and ordering them to mine locally could work around this (unconfirmed).
    • Where the fragments are small enough, they may be collectable on ship contact like small/medium ships (unconfirmed).

Crystal mining:

  • Some asteroids have surface spots that can be individually mined away to release various types of crystals.
  • Depending on rarity, crystals can be quite valuable when sold to Item Traders (see "Items versus Wares" section above).
  • As with mineral fragments, the Container Magnet can speed up collection.

Manual Nebula Mining For Liquid Resources

At this time, it is currently not possible to collect resources from nebulae while the player pilots the ship.


  1. Anonymous

    Why is auto-trade so confusing and why is there two different versions of it?

    First version: select a ship, then right-click on empty space in the map => Auto-trade in [sector | Galaxy]. But then it's not the ship's default behaviour, so if I manually order a trade the auto-trade is removed.

    Second version: set as default behaviour, but then you have to painfully select all 39 wares by hand if you want the same behaviour as the first version.

    1. Anonymous

      Also the first version requires no specific skill while the second requires a three-star pilot.

    2. Anonymous

      Consider the mutliple uses; what if I want one ship to only import Ship parts? It has a job to go find ship parts to buy and bring them to this one sector. This is not possible with Auto trade in sector or Galaxy. It has to be limited. While you might be tempted to say "Who would ever need that", please consider that arguing for less player choice is dangerous.
      Basically, if you want an indiscriminate trader, Sector and Galaxy trader is for you. The "second" behaviour is for other applications.

  2. Anonymous

    How to Buy and Sell Wares - Ship trading

    Welp, there needs to be some information in regards of ship storage type and ware storage type.

    you cant simply not buy a freighter and then buy some engine parts, because maybe they wont fit into the storage type the freighter can carry.

    the wares DONT tell you, what type of storage they need.

    1. The in-game Encyclopedia entries for Wares states when they are Container storage (e.g. Energy cells are Container). Please report on the Egosoft Technical Support Forum if you find a Ware without a defined Storage Type. 

      The Manual already stated that "Most ships have CONTAINER class storage which are most tradeable goods. Mining ships can have LIQUID or SOLID storage". This text has been made more specific.

  3. Anonymous

    Any info on what 'distribute wares' does, or specifically how 'import' and 'export' work?  Any info on setting station buy prices as opposed to sell prices for wares?

    1. Distribute wares sells the wares to all buying stations in the sector. Station buy and sell prices are directly linked to the faction of the capacity for the ware remaining in the station.

  4. Anonymous

    For auto trading max gates to buy/sell, the max gates to buy determines how far from where the ship currently is to buy items. Is the max gates to sell also based on the current sector or the sector the item is bought from?

    Also, are the highways between sub-sectors considered to be "gates" for this distance? 

    Is there any way to specify particular stations to buy at, and particular stations to sell at?

  5. Anonymous

    I have tried to get an assigned ship to sell EC's from its station. But when using Distribute wares. It gos of and buys EC's elsewhere then sells those instead of mine!  '

    Is there away to sell one product from a station, and set the gates traveled?

    1. Left click the ship then right click the station and select the Trading For option to make it a subordinate and then the station manager will send it about doing tasks if the station has enough credits/spare stock.

  6. Anonymous

    I do not think you select distribute or anything to sell stuff from your factory. Distributing would be something extra. Try to not tell it what to do other than just assigning it, and see if it picks up jobs.

  7. Anonymous

    This page needs better descriptions for how the options in Autotrade and Distribute work.

    1. Autotrade buys and sells while distribute only sells unless the player has a station that sells the ware. The options are straight forward in that the buy distance is how far from the starting sector it will move to buy and the sell distance is how far from the starting sector it will move to sell.

      1. Anonymous

        Still not clear.  "distribute only sells" what if it not buys also?

  8. Anonymous

    Is there an option to auto-trade and setup the prices . I want my trader to buy at a specified price or lower, and sell at another specified price or higher.

    1. Anonymous

      Not for free roaming, not attached to factories, traders. They just buy as high as they can and sell as low as they can. Factory owned traders follow the factory pricing.

  9. Anonymous

    Auto Trading and Auto Mining:“before adjusting the leash range for how far to look for stations to buy and sell atM.”

    This “leash range” Relative to which central point?

    Auto starting position? Or the location when each search for the new transaction?

  10. Anonymous

    Autotrade: as of 3.0 beta.


    Set Default Behavior: Autotrade ***

    Wares: List of trade wares you want to trade in.

    Anchor Space: Sector the trader will always return to to look for trades first.

    Max gate distance(Buy): How far the trader will look to buy wares from the Anchor Space. This may include Super Highways. Zero means only buy from the Anchor Space.

    Max gate distance(Sell): How far the trader will look to sell wares from the Anchor Space. This may include Super Highways. Zero means only sell to the Anchor Space.


    Caveat: this is what I have learned during my game of how the function works by testing the behavior in a conquered Sector and setting up Food and Medical supply factory.

    My Autotraders (2 of them) would only buy wares in my Sector with the factory, nowhere else. Because the Max gate distance(Buy) was set to zero. And they would travel throughout the Max gate distance(Sell) range selling the 2 wares I chose.

    If I changed the values of both gate distances to the opposite, my traders would buy from an NPC faction, return to my Sector and sit there "looking for trades".

    I have not built a station in Super Highway Sectors.


    Hope this helps.

  11. Anonymous

    what is the best option to permanently move wares form station a to station b?

    For example - i build a defense station in a sector with high storage capacity for containers.

    I want my traders to permanently supply this station with all i need for building new stations nearby.

    It's really annoying and a waste of time to give an order "take - deliver - take -deliver ..."one after the other.

    Maybe something like "repeat n times" would ease the job.

  12. Anonymous

    Hi all. just need some help with auto trading. using my trading ship i right click in space but it does not give me the option to auto trade and in the behaviour tab where it shows the captions skills ect. the auto trade is not highlighted but has 2 stars. Has the game glitch when i downloaded it from steam ? or am i missing something i need to change in game ect. thanks 

  13. Anonymous

    Make sure your ship captains have at least 3 stars to use Auto trade.  Having to manually do their work for them till they get experienced.  After they're high enough of a rank, you can setup the auto trades and then also set up all the other cool stuff you can do with the traders/miners.

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