Any ship designed for the purpose of moving cargo from one location to another. Although cheap mass drivers are often used for bulk cargo within systems, any interstellar trade will require a ship of some kind, and even within a system there are many goods that cannot withstand rapid accelerations.

Generally freighters are as large as the local jump gate network will allow and have a design focused more on cost effectiveness and fuel efficiency than speed. Rare exceptions to this rule do exist.

Freighters do not normally transport living organisms, except in the case of the rare livestock freighter. These are usually found only bringing fresh food or product to existing and new colonies and are very expensive affairs.

Freighters designed to move fluidic cargoes are referred to as tankers, while heavily armed warships disguised as freighters are called Q-ships. Q-ships are used to protect flotillas of cargo ships and merchantmen. They are not well armored or geared for combat speeds and maneuvers, so they rely on disproportionate firepower which often puts the armaments of dedicated capital ships to shame. Their crews are expected to survive only long enough for the other craft in the convoy or fleet to escape.