At the beginning, this spacecraft is the basic unit for resource transport. Although it has no armor and moves slowly, it can carry 5000 resource units at once. The small transporter is the first ship which makes it worth your while to raid neighbors with. You should never send it out without an escort. It can be shot down by a single Rocket Launcher and can result in a standoff with only 5 Solar Satellites or espionage probe, since it cannot destroy them at all.
In the early days of a universe, raids are made blindly by attacking random targets with a small cargo ship. Later, when Impulse Drive level 5 is attained, their base speed doubles and they use the Impulse Drive for further upgrades. This makes them far faster than Large Cargo Ships providing a swift method to transport resources between planets. In the late game small cargo ships can be used to quickly raid planets thus allowing you to fit more raids into one day.
Small cargo ships provide poor transport capacity for their cost when compared to a Large Cargo Ship, and are also easy to destroy. Small cargo ships (when using impulse engines) use significantly more deuterium than the Large cargo ships; a small cargo uses 20 deuterium per 5000 resources, whereas Large cargo ships use 10 deuterium per 5000 resources.