The state of low sec JF hauling in 2023 pre-Viridian

Moving cargo in or across low sec has its own challenges. After reading this post you’ll have a detailed picture of the low sec hauling market using completed contract tallies from various hauler groups (and the public queue) going back to the beginning of 2023. This should establish a “before” picture of the state of low sec hauling pre-Viridian, and we can revisit this in summer 2023 to see what’s changed. All of this is being provided to everyone since one of GHSOL’s three main principles has always been transparency.

While blockade runners are the cheapest and relatively safe in low sec, the limited cargohold makes this unsuitable for sizeable loads. Deep space transports with bigger cargoholds are no longer viable due to techniques gankers use at gate camps in low sec to catch them.

This leaves us with jump freighters with two ways of getting your cargo moved: the public queue and courier services like Black Frog, PushX and Galactic Hauling Solutions Inc (GHSOL). Completed contracts during 2023 (up to May 31st) with a low sec starting system and/or a low sec destination with a cargo size greater than 62500 m3 is the constraints for this apple to apple comparison:

Black Frog : 982 (Red/Black Frog Busy, 20% null sec, verified by BFL)
PushX: 1306 (info leaked, null sec/deleted contracts purged before count)
GHSOL: 1424 + 1061 (verifiable via alt in corp and by anyone)
Public: ~400 (years of stored contract info, 62500+ m3 with 150M+ reward)
Total: 5173

The surprising conclusions in the above numbers is there’s only 1000 low sec JF sized contract being created every month. I say this because clearly the market has shrunk from many many years ago when I hauled for Black Frog and PushX where monthly counts for low sec JF loads were around 800 and 450 respectively at what was the highs. I’ll leave it to others to speculate why.

The other surprising conclusion is how few low sec JF loads are being put in the public contract queue. A new JF pilot wanting to start a courier service would need to have at least 50 contracts to be viable business. But the monthly average is only around 80?! More evidence that CCP needs to rework the contract creation mechanism at soooo many levels.

On a personal level, I was surprised that GHSOL’s market share has grown over the years to be 48%. For every 2 loads going to/from low sec, GHSOL moves one of them with our low rates and super fast delivery times. Unless I’ve missed some numbers, GHSOL became the market leaders in last year when it comes to low sec JF hauling.

Everything is going to change with Viridian. Black Frog understands and has been quite transparent with their numbers so you, me and everyone can evidently see the changes. Sadly, PushX not so much, but clearly I’ve managed to get their numbers anyways. PushX was given the opportunity to voluntarily provide numbers and verify, but declined. Keep this lack of transparency in mind next time you choose a low sec courier service (and give EVE Hauling Advisor a try).

For those who’d like to delve into numbers (including further back than 2023), I’m more than happy to dig in and satisfy your curiosity. But I won’t be the one expanding this analysis to include high sec nor null sec. It’s worth mentioning that null sec alliance haulers have to move their cargo all the way across low sec every day, and often to Jita. While this is easily the most economical way of moving cargo, I’ve not included these numbers mainly because of the small number of routes that are served by each one.

Finally, if you do have different numbers (preferably by at least 50 to 100), let’s talk in game in channel GHSOL. There’s alot of constraint I’ve used to keep the scope of this analysis smaller, and I do want to understand what constraints your numbers have so we can do apples to apples comparison and I can make any needed corrections or additions.

ps - Every time I see Viridian, all I can think of is Veridian Dynamics so comment below if you can’t unsee this inadvertent Better Off Ted tie in. What…like Dr Who was more appropriate?!

Can you elaborate? Out of curiosity.

I’m not the best person to ask about DSTs. My focus is JFs, and you won’t see me readily go outside my comfort zone (for what would be less cargo moved and less pay). I can say that I do see standup fighters sitting on gates in low sec while gankers are operating, and I think these are used to decloak. But JFs are unaffected by this.

What I can say is PushX had a low sec DST service years ago. But this was discontinued for what I believe was frequent gankings. Perhaps an old vet from PushX will be more open about details like this than the leadership. As I said above, I did reach out to the PushX leadership before putting this all up in the forum.

I am an independent hauler using DSTs and BRs (I use BRs most heavily). I have also largely stopped using DSTs for the following reasons which may correspond to Beacon Boy’s points. I’d also be curious to hear from other DST pilots on these topics:

Debris/Standup Fighters near Gates
Debris near the gate is an old tactic that will decloak any BR/DST landing on a gate and will prevent cloak activation by any BR/DST that has broken its movement timer to align and cloak. The more debris there is, the larger the debris field and therefore the more likely cloak will be broken for inbound and outbound BR/DSTs so pilots can’t assume that breaking timer 10-14 km out from the gate will save the ship and cargo. The combination of standup fighters can be particularly effective because they’re not static as debris is. Zkill and EVEGatecampCheck will indicate when Uedama and Ahbazon are particularly hot and orbiting fighters and gate debris are probably (though not always) a part of that.

Cloak + MWD (+ Overheating):
Cloak + MWD trick isn’t as potent a counterplay as it may once have been. Overheating your MWD to warp instantly off the ‘X’ is also important in high-risk areas. However, combined with inability to cloak for reasons stated above, Cloak+MWD+Overheating is hardly a guarantee of surviving a camped gate. Cloak+MWD+Overheating also means the player has to develop the muscle memory of the keystrokes needed in addition to correct timing which magnifies the risk of fat-fingering by DST pilots. My understanding around fat-fingering/keystroke timing is that if you don’t cloak before activating your MWD, then your MWD signature bloom isn’t captured within the cloaking field which therefore makes your DST easier to target - or extremely easy to target if you can’t cloak because of debris/standup fighters nearby. I’ve heard of players using Cloak+AB instead of MWD to reduce sig bloom; however, from my own observations from when I experimented with this years ago, align time seemed slower?

Chokepoints vs Risk/Reward: Orbiting standup fighters and gate debris help to make chokepoints probably more dangerous than in prior years/eras. Avoiding chokepoints also adds travel time and additional jumps particularly on the Jita – Amarr route with Niarja part of Pochven the last several years. It is also amusing to note that direct gate-to-gate HS route between the Amarr Empire and the Caldari State is apparently a relatively low priority for both governments (i.e.: CCP). One would think that there would be opportunities to establish new gates between the Empire and the State in Lonetrek, The Forge, or The Citadel with various systems in Domain, Tash-Murkon, or Kador. Maybe…eventually? 45+ HS/LS jumps from Jita to Amarr or longer trips into Khanid, Tash, or Kador…not very attractive to a hauler (or time-efficient for a player) if they don’t pay well.

Market Arbitrage to Supplement Hauling Income:
Haulers might supplement income from hauling with market arbitrage (buy low and sell high at destination) but this isn’t a caveat to marginally-paying or underpaying contracts either. It doesn’t require crazy ISK to start trading if a hauler keeps the investment low and accrues earnings over time to reinvest in arbitrage sales. Also, while arbitrage might supplement hauling income it’s possible to lose money in arbitrage. What might seem to be an attractive deal in Amarr for example could turn decidedly negative at destination if someone has gotten to market first. And…no…hot arbitrage sales won’t necessarily convince me to take the short route via Ahbazon if the gates are hot. That’s just stupid risk. The higher the gank risk along routes the more likely a hauler will need to lengthen jump routes and travel time to at least reduce risk. One clear way to reduce arbitrage risk on the hauler side is for the hauler to use a BR rather than DST.

Thank you for this analysis, and congratulations on nearly 50% market share!

Do you have data on the number of failed contracts that you would be willing to share?

Numbers about failed contracts are quite a bit smaller…almost rounding errors compared to completed contracts. This number tracks closely with numbers of JFs ganked. Though it will also track less closely with the level of experience of the average corp member in the courier corp. Surprisingly JF pilots are often are on either end of the spectrum…very new or very very experienced.

Any courier corp can easily share their failed contract information if they want. If the leaders of any courier corp say otherwise, just tell them to go back through the pages of their completed contract in the in-game list of completed contracts. The very last page (and oldest) shows every failed contract going back to the start of the corp. Don’t let them distract you with the fact that completed contracts only go back just one year…failed contracts go back forever and that’s why they show up on the last page.

For GHSOL, we have 52 contracts failed from 2014 though today. In the last year, we only have 2 contracts failed. In 2022, we only have 1 failed contract. You can see from this that GHSOL originally had a much less experienced fleet of JF pilots. But today, our pilots rarely slip up (or at least don’t do so with your cargo in their cargohold)! Some of this is because both JFs cost and our max collateral is about double from when we started the corp. This tends to encourages JF pilots to be much more careful.

Feel free to go out and challenge every courier service to show their low sec JF sized failures and post them here along with the time period for those failures. It won’t take more than 5 min of their time, send them to me for a walk through if they claim otherwise and post here with a “name and shame” about them not being transparent if they continue to resist revealing this info. Customers can drive courier corp leadership to be as transparent as they should be about vital information like this!

This number of failed contracts will serve as a great baseline to see if T2 dreads lancers suddenly cause a big uptick. BTW on a related topic, the number of contracts that expire is far more interesting that the failed contract information. These expired contracts show just how much a corp cares about their customer’s times…are they going to have you wait for a week only to find out they didn’t have the capacity to deliver your cargo?!

Unfortunately, expired contracts get deleted so there’s no history or journal. If CCP had a mechanism in game for tracking this, I think you’d have much bigger numbers that’d prove quite embarrassing for some courier corps. But I’m not about to speculate more than that when there’s just no numbers to back it up.

As always, come to channel GHSOL in game if you’d like to talk more about this topic or others relating to JF hauling!

Awesome, thank you for sharing!

I’ll be the first to admit killboards in these first weeks have not shown many T2 dreads lancing JFs. Four JFs ganked does not make a “bloodbath”. Then again, those same killboards don’t show many T2 dreads being lost. So the owners are being very careful with them!

As the prices for T2 dreads come down (13b last I checked…and falling quickly to the construction cost of ~11b), these ships will move from being hangar queens to being risked on grid. Though I doubt they’ll be flown solo given how using the lance leaves them and everyone around them quite vulnerable.

So I’ll state that my prediction earlier prediction was wrong. But I’ll draw another line in the sand, and put out a new prediction of significantly more JF losses by the CSM election. But hey, if my track record is 0-1 on predictions, why even bother listening to me, eh?

You may not be completely wrong though because many kills involving a lancer aren’t showing the actual lancer on the killmail.

This is because groups using the new lancers to kill JFs are reshipping after firing the lance and then holding the target for 15mins before killing them. This causes the lancer to not show up on the kill thereby causing people checking zkill to be unawares that a lancer is being used in that system/gate!

I guess your track record might even be 0-2 on predictions since you couldn’t anticipate that Lancer in Hysera on 5th of July. :smiling_face_with_tear:

How many of JF ganked by a Lancer were part of GHSOL? Not sure if your competitors lost some, there is no disclosure on this yet.

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I’ve heard rumors of reshipping of T2 dread pilots before the killmail is generated. This would cause T2 dreads to look like they’re having less of an impact than they really are.

Of course, this type of thinking is right up there with any conspiracy mentality. “Hiding T2 dread kills” seems like far too much effort for the players who use this play style.

GHSOL has ceased operations. T2 dreads constrain JF routing so that entry from low sec into high sec becomes predictable. It feels like null sec JF hauling when you can only use NPC stations!

The above baseline has been established…1000 JF sized low sec contract per month across all courier corps and the public queue. I’ll try to get the numbers again towards the end of the year to see how much this has shrunk. Not that CCP is going to use this data to speed up any decision making process!

where do we stand now? The T2 Dreads are out doing their thing, and I’ve heard many people stopping flying JF altogether over it. So curious if CCP will take notice that their creation is breaking the balance of the game in this sense. Has anyone found work arounds for the JF issues? Has there been a trick to ambushing the ambushers to maybe turn the tables on them and maybe also start killing T2 dreads?

The only people who stopped flying their JF are the children who want everything to be easy and 110% safe, and they should probably be playing farmville to be honest.

Everyone else has adapted. PushX, RedFrog, all the alliance freight programs, a multitude of individual haulers, hell there’s an even a brand new JF service that opened up that you can see in the post just below this one.

The truth is that the changes added an element of risk to an area of the game that contained pretty much none, adding challenge and fun for those haulers who enjoy the harsh reality of eve.

there hadn’t been an update in a month so I was asking as I’ve been training toward JF and was hoping it was still worth it. Thanks. I agree, EVE isn’t for the ones that want to have it all easy, nor those that think “I’m gonna beat EVE like I do every other game”

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what service are you talking about? I am the post below that one.

“Moonfire Service Provider”

For the record Moonfire is hardly “new”, nor do they haul to all points in low sec.

Using July 4th as the date when Lancers appeared on grid being used to take down a JF, I did a comparison of all JF gankings on zkillboard between July 4th and now. The comparison was with the same number of days before July 4th. The results were 200 JF gankings after July 4th and 144 JF gankings before going back to April 20th.

Quibble all you want, but the numbers speak for themselves.

Looks to me like JF pilots are

  • not reading patch notes
  • not educating themselves about how the new mechanics work
  • feeling incredibly safe because of the previous mechanics that made it almost impossible to catch them even while being semi attentive on a third screen

After all, in my book killed JFs are no big deal at all. It does not hurt new players, it does not hurt poor casuals. It hurts really super rich persons or groups who had all options in the world to move them around safely if they really wanted to (and would be willing to run some support for a damn 14 billion ISK ship instead of flying it around solo).


I can’t argue your points Syzygium its true that there is no affect on new players, and there is no reason that a 14 billion isk ship should be flying solo, any more than a freighter should in truth. The simple reality is that not everyone can or wants to have to multibox, and there is not always groups of people known to each other online, much less willing to interact.