History

Pierce County voters established the Port of Tacoma Nov. 5, 1918, and elected our first three commissioners: Chester Thorne, a banker; Edward Kloss, a longshore official; and C.W. Orton, a fruit and dairy farmer.​

In the late 1800s, shipping and the railroads led to the development of various private docks and facilities in Steilacoom, along Ruston Way and in Old Town Tacoma.

We started out on 240 acres of land in the Tacoma Tideflats. The Edmore, a commercial steamship loaded with lumber and bound for Japan, was the first vessel to call at the Port March 25, 1921.

Over the years, more and more shipping activity shifted from the downtown Tacoma waterfront into the Port industrial area.

Today, the Port covers more than 2,700 acres in the Port industrial area.  We are one of the top container ports in North America and a major gateway for trade with Asia and Alaska.

Learn more

Find additional information about our history at historylink.com.