The Port is an independent municipal corporation that operates under Title 53 of the Revised Code of Washington and is classified as a special purpose district.
The Port is a member of The Northwest Seaport Alliance, a marine cargo operating partnership with the Port of Seattle. Under a port development authority, the ports manage the container, breakbulk, auto and some bulk terminals in the Seattle and Tacoma harbors.
Five commissioners are elected to four-year terms by the citizens of Pierce County to serve as the Port's board of directors. The commission hires the CEO, sets policy and strategic direction, and approves all major expenditures.