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Starfield: How to Get Shielded Cargo Holds to Smuggle Contraband

Smuggling is not an easy job in Starfield, but you can do it with Shielded Cargo, and tracking it down can be a challenge.

Smuggling can be a great way to earn extra money while playing Starfield. You might be smuggling contraband you find while exploring the game, or you can pick up smuggling missions if your character is more of a nefarious type that wants to deal with crime. The only way to complete any kind of successful smuggling is to have a Shielded Cargo Hold on your ship, and those are tricky to come by.

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You won’t find Shielded Cargo Holds in a traditional starport. These are typically frowned upon by any place with local authorities, but there is a reliable location you can reach, even if it does take you a lot of leg work. Here’s what you need to know about how to get a Shielded Cargo Hold for your ship to smuggle contraband in Starfield.

Related: Starfield: How to Store Items in Your Ship’s Cargo Hold

Where to Find Shielded Cargo Holds in Starfield

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There are two ways you can find ships with Shielded Cargo Holds. The first way is by stealing a ship, which typically means you’ll need to find a Crimson Fleet vessel while exploring Starfield. Crimson Fleet ships have a random chance to appear in orbit after you use your Grav Drive between new planets. These vessels might be fighting it out against the local authority, or they could appear to attack your character’s ship. Your goal will be to aim for the ship’s engines, destroy them, and then attempt to dock with it. So long as your character can fly that type of ship, they can steal it, securing a ship with Shielded Cargo Holds.

You do have to roll the dice quite a bit, hoping you’ll find one. This is a crude method, but it gets the job done. You can also find ships with Shielded Cargo Holds in Starfield by joining the Crimson Fleet. You can do this by committing any type of crime in the game, such as smuggling or piracy, and your character will eventually be asked to board the UC Vigilance and work with the UC SysDef. They want you to infiltrate the Crimson Raiders, join their ranks, and get dirt on them that the UC SysDef can use to bring them to justice.

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You’ll need to complete the Echoes of the Past mission for the Crimson Fleet to become a full member of their group in Starfield. After this mission, you can explore the Fleet’s base, The Key, a space station, and you’ll need to track down Jasmine. You should be able to find her close to Reckoner’s Core entrance, and she’ll be able to hook you up with ships with Shielded Cargo Holds, or she can upgrade your existing ship with these modifications.

The alternative is heading over to Porrima III, in the Porrima system in Starfield. Here, you can visit the Red Mile, and speak with the head ship engineer, Lon Anderssen. He offers a variety of Shielded Cargo Hold options in Starfield, but these are for adding to your ship, and not purchasing an entirely new ship, unlike the Crimson Fleet.

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A Shielded Cargo Hold is required if you want to complete any smuggling missions or carry any contraband cargo in Starfield. Joining the Crimson Fleet is likely the best method, and has been a great way to gain access to several illegal things in Starfield, but this might be different for your playthrough.

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Zack Palm
Zack Palm is the Senior Writer of Gamepur and has spent over five years covering video games, and earned a Bachelor's degree in Economics from Oregon State University. He spends his free time biking, running tabletop campaigns, and listening to heavy metal. His primary game beats are Pokémon Go, Destiny 2, Final Fantasy XIV, and any newly released title, and he finds it difficult to pull away from any Star Wars game.