Establishing Trade Routes in Civilization: Beyond Earth is quite similar to setting up roads, but the major difference is that for Trade Routes you need a specific building: the Trade Depot.
Once you have a Trade Depot established in your city, you will have trade units that you could construct, which will allow your city to support up to two trade routes.
You will then need to construct a trade unit, after which you can select an available route through the Establish Trade Route command. This command will only have your own cities and other cities/stations that you have already discovered.
Civilization: Beyond Earth Trade Routes
There are multiple routes depending on the geographic location of your city and the one that you are connecting to. Trade vessel units will travel on aquatic routes, while trade convoys will utilize land routes establish through these trade routes.
In order to construct a trade route to your desired destination, you will need to find a route that is clear of miasma and also the shortest, as that would minimize the upkeep costs of the route.
In addition to this, you should also avoid placing routes that intersect or travel near rival territory, as often they can be ambushed by close-by colonies for extra goods. Once you have chosen and established the required route to the desired destination, your units will go back and forth from between the connected cities.
The issue with trade routes is that they carry vital goods and resources, so they can be prone to foreign attacks, both from other colonies and from aliens (aquatic routes are especially susceptible to alien attacks).
While avoiding enemy territories is the best way to avoid assaults on your trade routes by other colonies, aliens can be fended off by establishing Ultrasonic Fences through the quest that would offer them.
It’s almost always worth your time, especially when you have aquatic routes to other cities.
Types of Trade Routes
Trading within your own nation isn’t the only way to establish a flow of resources, so you should always look to explore the different types of trade routes you can establish in CivBE.
International Trade Routes
International trade routes are those constructed between one of your cities and that of another colony. This has several large benefits, of which the most obvious are a significant increase in Energy and Science, and greatly improved diplomatic relations with the colony you are trading with.
International Trade Routes are one of the best ways to establish good diplomatic relations with colonies that are for the moment superior to yours.
While they won’t guarantee absolute peace, they will most certainly improve relations and help establish alliances. This will give you more time to strengthen your military and defenses for any possible of relationships souring in the future.
Internal Trade Routes
These are trade routes that are established amongst your own cities. While they may not give you the booming Energy and Science like International trade routes, they do grant you Food and Production, and also allow you to establish and grow Outposts at a rapid rate.
In order to expand your colony, it is always recommended to establish as many Internal trade routes as possible in the early game, and then look towards diplomatic relations with other colonies.
Station Trade Routes
Stations are neutral regions that provide a large number of bonuses and yields to whoever sets up trade routes with them, depending on the type of station. They appear randomly on the map, and become more and more beneficial the longer you maintain a trading route with them.
For this reason, Station trade routes will quickly become an extremely important source of bonus yield and resources for you.
However, Stations are susceptible to enemy attacks, so you might want to keep a small military unit or two next to the station you are trading with to protect it from being invaded by rivals. You can read more about Stations and trading with them in our Stations Guide.
Improving your Trade Routes
One factor that will annoy you a bit is the limited amount of trade routes available through a trade depot.
There aren’t many ways to improve this other than building more and more Trade Depots, but that is counter-productive as the upkeep costs and space used by these buildings subtracts from the benefits of having trade routes.
Autoplants, once they get their Quest rewards, will boost your cities with a bonus trade route, allowing improved trading and yield through trade in that particular city. Trade routes that are across water are actually much more useful than those on terra firma, as there is a 50% increase in yield than normal routes.
For this reason, it is usually recommended to establish aquatic trade routes whenever possible. However, these often tend to come under the attacks of aliens, for which you may need to invest a little more on aquatic units the defend them.