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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 was a Truck Driver out of Baltimore. I have his patches snd pins and safe driving patches. License plate, mug, match books, teamster magazine write ups. Very cool to find others. My Dads name was Earl Veit Sr


Enjoyed reading comments from other children of McLean drivers. My dad, LJ Dorsey, CB handle the red Caboose, passed away 9/4/2021. He was Hayes and then McLean driver until the shut down in 1986. First out of Charleston WV and then Cincinnati Oh. He got on the road that last day from Memphis to Cincinnati before the gates were closed.


I was hired by McLean in the mid 70's as a management trainee, I completed their road driving school in W. Middlesex PA and Drove from the road list from west middlesex then I was transferred to Winston Salem, Home office and continued driving up and down the east coast for McLean.
After training i was assigned to an Ohio terminal then to Quincy Il as it's terminal Manager.


I was hired by Mclean in the spring of 1972 as a management trainee after getting out the Army. I have always considered my ten plus years at Mclean as the foundation of a great career. Mclean was the best of the best in those days and I will always feel that Mclean Trucking Company was a great place to begin a career


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.

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