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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: 



My dad recently passed away and I just found a metal ruler from McLean Trucking Co. with the engraved on the front, Sidney Harrison.
My dad was in the Marines stationed at Camp LeJeune so he must have brought it back home with him.


Debbie - I'm Michael H. LaVelle, orig from Col';s, OH. I'm a 79-yr. old Ex-Marine, '58-=62', and spent 2-1/2 yrs. at LeJeune. X-ferred to HQ MC in June of 60'. Wonder if I might have run across your dad?


My daddy drove for McLean in the early 50's, his co-driver's name was Freeman.


Could anyone tell me the location where their Philadelphia,PA terminal was ? I thought it was on Rising Sun Ave., but others think it was Hunting Park Ave. ..


About 25 Oct 1977 my uncle Herbert Marshall from Imperial, Mo lost control of his McLean rig out by Wright City, Mo and died. I live now out here in the St. Louis area if anyone knows any more information I'd love to hear about him more.


McLean was a tough conpetitor. I worked for Spector Red Ball also headquartered 8n Winston Salem. The big companies who were all Teamsters, could no longer compete with non union companies offering 10 and 15 % discounts.


I been trying too get on at McLean, is it a good company too work for.....


Hello Floyd,

Unfortunately, the McLean Company referenced here filed for bankruptcy in 1986 and is no longer in business. There is a New York Times archived article about the shut down which you can read here:

I hope this helps! Please feel free to post again if you have any more comments or questions.

Best Wishes,

Christopher Luettger - NC Government and Heritage Library


My uncle, Harvey L. Mullins drove for McClean all his life. He lived in Winston-Salem, NC. Does anyone here remember him?


Oh my gosh, I think my dad drove with him. O.C. Smith. I remember hearing him talk about “Mullins”. I’ll ask him if it is the same one!

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