© 2023 Dr Margaret Sheppard

Occupations Food Production Market Small Business Building Other Occupations

Other common occupations


Transporting goods and people is an important source of income. The products from the rural areas need to be moved to serve the urban areas and also to the ports such as Colombo, Hambantota and Trincomalee for export.

The traditional method was by bullock cart and these are still to be seen in many areas. These are being replaced by other methods but are still useful in the less accessible areas although tractors and trailers are becoming more common for these areas.

Rail in the areas served by trains is used and freight wagons is another important method especially for less perishable and heavier goods like building materials.

Probably the main widely used transportation now is by lorries of various sizes. These abound throughout the island and vary from small lightweight ones to the larger ones with trailers that largely travel on the wider  and newer roads.

The transport industry employs many drivers and loaders.

Bullock train resting in a lay-by part way up a steep mountain road in the Hill Country

A ferry across a sea lagoon on North East coast circa November 2004. It is driven by this engine and operative. Sadly all were lost in the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004 but have since been replaced by road bridges.

A typical delivery lorry . These are often brightly painted. The driver is usually accompanied by assistants who help with the loading and unloading. They distribute stock and goods from the ports and warehouses near the ports and factories around the island.

Hire Vans. These are on hire to groups of pilgrims, for wedding parties, transporting goods etc. They may be driven by the owner of the owners hires a driver who is paid by commission on the trips

Tractors - transporting sacks of rice

Traditional bullock carts are becoming rarer and rarer. Trincomalee area early 2000s)