Do you have a specific strategy for placing trading ports? I've been finding that placing a trading port at every single planet sometimes gives me less income than if I raze one!
It could be the faulty path finding of the "longest route" trade bonus.
Yes, don't spam trade ports. Try to force the trade route to go 'the long way around'. And thru as many UCGW's as possible. The longer the chain, the better.
Here's an extreme illustrated example. And a (better) explanation.
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