Cargo Bay blocks are used to dedicate the storage spaces on your ships, mines and stations to store varied Goods. They are particularly important for efficient trading and carrying components to Turret Factories. Every Cargo Bay block consists of an empty room isolated by a mechanized 5-meter-thick buffer on every side. As such, result Cargo space is equal to 3.5 * (x-0.5) * (y-0.5) * (z-0.5) units, therefore having a single block providing all the intended cargo capacity on the object is most efficient. Material has no effect on this value, so the choice should lie between the mass and the durability of the block used.
Obtained Goods can be managed in several ways using the Cargo section of the Ship Menu.
Cargo Bays are essential for effective and profitable trading runs. Trading ships with great cargo capacity are able to carry multitude of variable goods at the same time without the necessity for repetitive runs between the stations.
It is useful to always have at least a modest Cargo Bay on a player ship in case any valuable cargo would be dropped from Cargo Transports of either friendly or hostile factions or other players in Multiplayer mode. While its possible to add an emergency Cargo Bay Blocks onto your ship, there are multiple potential drawbacks to such measures: added mass might affect ship's maneuverability unfavorably, and the blocks themselves might be open and vulnerable to hostile fire. Pre-existing Integrity Field Generators might lack the necessary capacity to enhance the attachments, while few weapon types as well as individual Turrets can bypass the Shield protecting it.
Stations use Cargo Bays in a similar manner. While Mines and Factories are provided with bare minimum cargo space by default, they require additional cargo capacity to hold both manufacturing components and the products of their labor. Cargo space is divided evenly between all the goods involved in a production cycle with consideration for their individual Volume ratio. No such station will be capable to run its production cycles if there's not enough vacant space to store the product. Nevertheless, each kind of goods is also hard-capped to 25,000 units regardless of its Volume ratio and station's cargo capacity.
With the introduction of R-Mining and R-Salvaging operation, whether by Turrets or Fighters of the associated type, Cargo Bays has to be used in order to store collected ores and scrap. Material ores are notably more compact, which makes R-Mining a better way to acquire materials over R-Salvage.
- Ships and Stations equipped with Cargo Bays will automatically pick up any Legal goods and material ores nearby as long as there's enough cargo space. Dangerous, Suspicious and Stolen goods will be ignored, and the appropriate icons will be shown over the items floating in space, indicating their type. Picking up of those items can be enabled in the ship's Cargo menu with corresponding flags.
- In case of some unwanted goods has been picked, or if exchange for more expensive goods is desirable, any kind of items can be jettisoned by pressing a corresponding Dump Cargo button. There's no way to split cargo, so all the cargo of the chosen kind will be dropped. Such cargo can be picked up again after 5 minutes; meanwhile any Ship or Station belonging to NPC faction or another player can pick the jettisoned goods immediately.
- NPC cargo transports of varying sizes always have their Cargo Bays made out of Iron, which makes it easy to deliberately extract most of their haul without destroying the transport itself. Such ships, especially those left in Scrapyards, can be quickly salvaged to gather Iron in areas where it otherwise naturally scarce.
- Note that it is unnecessary to always carry all the cargo around with your ship. Often it is easier to build another ship in a safe location consisting of Cargo Bays, minimum life-support systems and few Crew members to keep it intact as to use it as a personal storage.