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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 dad, O.C. Smith, also drove in those years and he is 88. A few drivers still get together for breakfast once a week.


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.


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

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