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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.

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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 father, actually an uncle who raised me, drove for Hayes Freight Lines and then McLean when it bought Hayes in 1958. He loved trucking and was seventh in seniority when he retired in '68.


I worked for McLean as a icty driver at their Chester/Wilmingotn terminal (outside Chester, PA) from 1977 to 1982. They were a good company at the time....until they bought Wolverine Express out of Holland, Michigan. After then, it was a downward spiral......When David Wanchik took over as presdent, thats when they wanted a 15% pay cut. Luckily, I had already left and went on the ABF by then.


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.


My father drove for this company when I was younger Ed Ganz he was there at that time your father was I wish I could ask him if he knew your father but he has passed away my brother found a lot of their stuff on eBay and pictured some of the stuff we have know my dad had pins from the years he was there we placed some on his headstone he loved working for the company


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.

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