Oddly enough, a bit later on, all 18 gas mining ships sat around with no mission whatsoever, and that's the way they have stayed. The private sector resolutely refuses to mine any gas with ships. Maybe it thinks there are enough mining stations or something, I'm not sure.
I don't know what others think, but I wonder whether the private sector builds too many ships. Quite often, when you inspect them, they're not full, or they're sitting around not doing anything. It will be interesting to change the number produced in Universe (assuming it's possible to do so).
Edit: Another question (which I may have asked previously, but I'm getting old and tend to forget things): for those that custom build, do you bother with small, medium and large freighters? I tend to just build one type, which starts off small and gets bigger as the game goes on.
PS That is useful advice CyclopsSlayer. I have tried that in the past and it does help.
The number of private sector ships seems to be based on a pre-set formula (e.g. number of planets), I'm sure somebody has the exact formula. I suspect Elliott has tried to pick a formula which is in the middle ground for players. For those that manage their resources well what you have seen is not unusual but for others it maybe inadequate.
Personally what I find most annoying is Mining Ships that do nothing when Super Luxuries are readily available to mine, they should given priority given the prices the Private Sector receives.
Here is a previous thread on Mining Ship and Freighter Design which I still follow. Any further observations from the community?