Yeah, logistics is not that hard IF you are doing internal logistics. External logistics with unpredictable pickups and deliveries are a different kettle of fish entirely. CLAUDE sum is all well and good if you have dedicated ships that are doing nothing but shuttling back and forth, but every transport mission in DW is a one off. The values it produces might be useful for setting some kind of heuristic demand figure (or more precisely some kind of handle on how much capacity needs to be involved in transporting a particular good from A to B) but it is hardly a comprehensive solution for what the private economy should be doing when.
To take just a few examples:
U=daily usage, except for luxuries (and even they will vary due to migration/growth) is not a constant and depends entirely on what is queued up where. For most materials it will depend on what is being built there, fuel is just unpredictable to a large degree since the ships that will be picking up fuel won't have even decided to head to the stop for refuelling yet. Once you are talking about moving resources somewhere so they can then be redistributed again it is even more complicated. Just guesstimating with a large margin of safety is probably ok if there is a lot of spare material around.
L= Transport lead time, also unpredictable to some degree. You can somewhat estimate whether the ship will run of fuel and so get a hyperdrive speed but the jump time initiation is random, calculating the effect of orbits would eat serious processor time (when multiplied by the number of ships/routes), you can't predict wait time to get a docking bay (no such thing as booking slots in DW) and you can't tell where the transport ship that accepts the mission will be exactly.
I know there are lots of pieces of software that can assist in this kind of task but processor cycles are at a premium in DW, anything that is going to be run for tens of thousands of ships going between thousands of destinations in addition to everything else DW already does needs to have a very low overhead.
I am not sure if there is even any expenditure or profit involved in the transport of goods in DW, it is all very stripped down. From what the galactopedia and empire summary say it looks like the only input of money into the private economy is colony revenue (GDP) and this is shared among the entire private sector of an empire. The costs are taxes, fuel usage and maintenance fees (the private mining bases appear to be very nice in that they give all their resources to the empire for free). Private freighters do not buy goods or sell them and have no need to make a profit themselves, they simply grease the wheels of the economy. There is no transfer of cash involved in moving your own resources (except for selling fuel to the private sector), and any trade between empires is a matter of state funds. It is all just a big heuristic to make it look like there is a real private economy with lots of individuals working for their own benefit.
Good prices are set on a galactic level, there are no price differentials driving the flow of goods. If I was going to set up a game with a bunch of private freighters I would let demand and supply determine the local price (as diablo1 said, something more like X3 but obviously with something better than the simplistic stock level equals price equation X3 uses) and give the freighters the incentive to maximise their own profits. In theory, everything would work itself out on that basis and it is simply a matter of giving the freighters routines to determine how to maximise profits. But any overhaul of the economy that major might have to wait for another expansion. It would be at least as involved as the change to the research system between original DW and ROTS.
In the mean time we are probably stuck with tweaking the current system ie changing when a trade order is put out for a freighter to respond to and how much of a good it transports. Things like my earlier suggestion that when picking up from a source that is full/near full the freighter should carry as much as it can. I'll add to that list that the very fact that a mining station is reaching full capacity should invoke a request for a freighter to transport goods to wherever they will fit. It should be relatively easy to stop mining stations from reaching full capacity (unless there aren't enough cargo/docking bays or galactic supply is through the roof). Getting from the current system to anywhere near an optimal distribution network is a much bigger ask.
Most of my Empires are too big