The Aakenn class freighter entered service during the Four Years War, during which the class was used to move men and materiel to the front and supplies to the rear to keep the Federation's wartime production at high levels. Decades later, the class was still a common sight on the spacelanes, with thousands converted over for commercial service. Starfleet used its more than 100,000 metric tons of capacity to move all sorts of materials to the outer reaches of the Federation; because the class wasn't capable of landfall, cargo needed to be containerized and beamed aboard via the vessels' eight cargo transporters. Additionally, the Aakenn class had staterooms for up to six passengers; though not designed for luxury, these small accommodations were nonetheless reasonably comfortable.
Of the 1432 Aakenn class ships constructed, by the late 23rd century, 244 Mark IIs and 760 Mark IVs remained in active service, and 12 were in reserve fleets. One Mark II and four Mark IVs were in use by Starfleet Training Command; 186 Mark IIs and 102 Mark IVs had been destroyed; 17 Mark IIs and 8 Mark IVs were listed as missing; 119 Mark II and 71 Mark IVs had been scrapped; and 93 Mark IIs and 32 Mark IVs had been sold to commercial enterprises. The Aakenn class was manufactured at the Tellar, Proxima Centauri, and Cait shipyard facilities, at a combined rate of approximately 30 per year.