Copyright notice

This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Average: 2 (2 votes)

McLean Trucking Company

by Robert E. Ireland, 2006Malcolm Mclean, founder of Mclean Trucking Co. Image available from PBS.

McLean Trucking Company Patch. Image available from NC Historic Sites. In 1931, when Malcolm P. McLean began working at a service station, North Carolina was rapidly becoming a major east-west transport route. Recognizing the potential for motor freight carrying, the Maxton native bought his first truck in 1934 and began hauling dirt for WPA road construction projects. Later, he transported textiles to New York. By the mid-1960s, the McLean Trucking Company had become the fifth-largest trucking company in America, with a fleet of 5,000 trucks and trailers and 65 terminals scattered throughout 20 states. The Winston-Salem terminal was considered the largest in the world when it was constructed in 1954.

McLean (who died in 2001 at age 87) sold his company in 1955 for $6 million and bought a small tanker firm, which he renamed Sea-Land. After becoming a pioneer in container shipping, he cashed in those shares for $160 million in 1969.




Thomas C. Parramore, Express Lanes and Country Roads: The Way We Lived in North Carolina, 1920-1970 (1983).

Additional Resources:

Article in Chicago Tribune:

North Carolina Digital Collections search results for McLean Trucking Company

Image Credit:

Malcolm Mclean, founder of Mclean Trucking Co. Image availabl from PBS. Available from (accessed June 18, 2012).

McLean Trucking Company Patch. Image available from NC Historic Sites. Available from June 19, 2012).


Origin - location: 



McLean presidents.......Malcolm McLean, Paul Davis, Amory Mellen and David Wanchick.....I worked for McLean from July 1958 until January 1986 at Winston Salem N. C.


I went to work for Herrin Transportation in 1967 and McLean bought Herrin out in 1969. I was a road dispatcher for McLean in Memphis, TN until 1983. I remember your father as he came into Memphis on a regular basis. At one time he ran a bid run from Indianapolis to Memphis.
Good to hear from one of the old timers like me.


I am getting to get a pin (tie tack, lapel?) collection which has several "McLean Trucking" pins, safe driver pins, etc. I think there are 24 pins. Is there a value here? Is McLean still in business?


Hi Carroll,

Thank you for using NCpedia and taking the time to leave your question. The pin collection you mention sounds very interesting! An antique dealer would be the best resource to appraise these items.

I'm forwarding your second question to Reference Services at the NC Government & Heritage Library. A librarian will contact you soon, if you'd still like information on the McLean Trucking Company.

Best of luck!

Laurie Reeves, NC Government & Heritage Library


My Dad drove for McLean Trucking from the early Hayes Freightline days (1957/58 Springfield ILL) until he retired in 1985/86 (Indianapolis In) His name is William A (Bill) Jones. I am looking to get further history and pictures on the company for him, he will be 87 this year and he thinks he may be the only remaining person from these two companies from these cities. I would like to surprise him with a few mementos from one or both of these companies. Thank you for any help you can provide me.


Dear Patricia, 

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and taking time to share your father's history and your question.  This sounds like a lovely project!

I am replying to the email you included with your post and cc'ing Reference Services at the N.C. Government & Heritage Library.  A librarian will contact you shortly to try to help you locate this information if you are still looking.

Good luck with your search and best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library


I am looking for a list od McLean trucking presidents.


Hi Billy,

By email I'm going to connect you with Reference Services at the Government & Heritage Library at the State Library of N.C.  A reference librarian will contact you to help you locate resources to answer this question.

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, Government & Heritage Library

Add a comment

PLEASE NOTE: NCpedia will not publish personal contact information in comments, questions, or responses. If you would like a reply by email, please note thats some email servers are blocked from accepting messages from outside email servers or domains. These often include student email addresses from public school email accounts. If you prefer not to leave an email address, check back at your NCpedia comment for a reply. Please allow one business day for replies from NCpedia. Complete guidelines are available at