After some toying around and paying attention to the mineral markets, I have determined that the cause of my new competition is literally caused by the removal of government subsidized ship markets (aka NPC shuttles). Because of all the speculation and movement in price of minerals, more people are speculating that the value of minerals will increase, and continue to increase.
I on the otherhand am operating normally, buying and selling. I am not sitting on stockpiles any longer than is required to get out to my systems which have minerals waiting for me. My immediate margins may not be astronomical at the moment, but the fact that I continue to operate normally and have many times more trades within a given period of time, I am certain I make making a lot more money than the speculators of similar net worth. Obviously if on has trillions of isk tied up in tritanium, a single sale can net a lot of money which I cannot compete with. At the same time, however, it isn't easy to sell that much tritanium at once unless you have buyers ready. Those people who are sitting on one or a few hundred million units of tritanium are definately behind the ball compared to my income which is rather significant and regular and perhaps most importantly, I can depend on it.
I similarly to Ka Jolo, a low-sec pirate who blogs at http://eve-pirate.blogspot.com/, am a young trader still learning the ropes but doing pretty well in the process. I estimate on my average days that I am still making about forty million ISK an hour of actual work. I do not mean that I make this money while I am offline, though my operation does continue while I am offline because people are selling to me ever few minutes of every day. However, it takes me approximately 1 hour to work a full load of minerals, and I can run at least one load a day, usually 3 or 4 loads. Over the weekends when I can spend more time babysitting the market and running my freighter to and fro between many end points, I can get in 5 or 6 full runs.
This Sunday however was abysmal. I was lucky to get two partial loads all day. Now I don't like to run partial loads, but I had buy orders ready to fail if I don't have the ISK to back them up. I needed to make those runs to make sure my wallet can cover the big trades so I don't loose money to my less deserving competetors. I don't actually loose money, but I do loose the profit.
Three days ago, I set up a public chat channel called "Interstellar Tritanium". It is my corp's public channel, however it is an open channel which I will use to keep in touch with friends I wouldn't otherwise be able to keep, and also as a place for local (meaning within the regions of my reach), miners and mineral traders to chat together in a place where we all have common interests and activities. I have connected with around 10 old friends so far, and made a few more.