Thanks for the feedback folks. I had not thought of putting weapons on the trade ships for purposes of military rating. Interesting idea.
In regards to:
It can be increased with econ starbases.
If you plan the route(s) correctly (and maximize the bases), you can make a lot of money.
I agree that trade used to be very useful and I would get loads of cash from it, especially when using a bunch of trade ports on econ starbases. But NOW in ToA I get hardly any money at all from it. I am quite surprised at what Highwater was saying about making over 1000bc a turn from it with the Korx. When I play as the Altaran and have eight routes going through some econ bases with trade modules I still make well less than 200bc a turn. I recognize of course that Altarans don't get the trade bonuses that Korx get. All the same, I used to pull in 3x that amount on the last beta and in DA.
Right now trade is hardly relevant to my economy even though I play with very few habitable planets. For folks who play with lots of colonies, trade would be even less useful.
Does anyone know if it makes a difference whether you put all your trade ships going from just one planet (usually my capital)? Can each planet only support so much trade? If so then maybe that is part of my problem. I like having them go from all one planet so I can easily build trade ports on econ bases that cover all my routes.
Also, do trade modules increase the money I get from other races' trade routes?