Trust ports (TP) are independent statutory bodies, each governed by their own, unique, statutes and controlled by a local independent board. There are no shareholders or owners and any surplus is ploughed back into each port for the benefit of its stakeholders. There are over 100 trust ports in the UK.

The Secretary of State for Transport retains responsibility for appointing chairs and non-executive members to the boards of the small number of ports considered to be nationally significant.