One of the interesting design decisions for Starbase-42 was to keep the enclosed Spacedock design from Starbase-1. The outer space doors sealing in ships that have been damaged or have needs which require a more protective area then just exposed space. The inside of the docking port is just massive when you consider it can fit a Galaxy-Class starship. The O’Neil Cylinder below that, and the additions of the primary anti-matter reactors that are used to provide power to the entire structure puts Starbase-42 closer to eight kilometers in length. Spacedock is only five.
The Spacedock configuration also allows the crews of most of the ships that come through to send a majority of their crews over on shore leave while we take care of their needs. When you consider how much can be done using transporters, actually removing cargo from a cargo bay mechanically doesn’t make much sense unless the cargo is extremely volatile. You don’t need a lot of personnel to move large amounts of material.
We had several Excelsior-Class ships bring in large amounts of soil for the construction. While most would have just had them transported where they were needed, the botanists in charge of the stations plant life insisted that they be moved manually. Something about the natural bacteria and other microorganisms in the soil being filtered out in the Transporters bio-filter. I would think the transporters could be and had bee configured to allow for such things. However, it seems that some people even now do not trust transporters.
Can’t argue with the results though.