This is the reason why we invest in the Port of Virginia, ladies and gentlemen.  From the Virginian-Pilot:

“This is something that the port has been planning for for a decade,” John Milliken, chairman of the Virginia Port Authority’s board, said after its meeting Tuesday.

The convergence of the widening of the Panama Canal and the consolidation of ocean carriers as slowing global trade and overcapacity slashed profits made the arrival of larger ships a foregone conclusion, he added: “This was going to happen.”

As more of the largest ships – those in the 18,000-plus TEU class – move into the Asia-Europe trade lane, still-massive vessels like the COSCO Development are moving elsewhere, like onto Asia-U.S.-East Coast services.

Just to give you a sense of the scale of these container vessels, this particular ship is about 250 feet short the length of the Empire State Building.

The most important part in this article?

The ship will bypass the ports of Savannah, Ga., and Charleston, S.C., on its way north, stopping at both after its brief stay in Virginia. This particular service will not call on the Port of New York/New Jersey.

Most folks do not realize this, but the Port of Virginia is one of the largest and deepest natural harbors in the world.  Only Virginia and Baltimore can take the new Panamax container vessels; only Virginia can take the massive Post-Panamax containers.  All of the other ports along the East Coast are either dredging or blasting in order to accommodate the former.

This natural harbor makes Virginia an international port of call — one of about a dozen in the world.  As a net contributor to the state budget, the Port of Virginia is a jewel we should be polishing carefully and with utmost attention.

There’s a reason why infrastructure improvements around the Port of Virginia and along Rt. 460 are important if not critical.  Other ports along the East Coast — Savannah, Charleston, New York, Baltimore — are all paying attention to Virginia’s sloth in this regard.

If future legislators and statewide office holders are honest ones, they’ll have concrete plans for addressing the Port of Virginia and explaining our immense advantages (and the port’s importance to the Virginia state budget).

To put it more bluntly?  Every very dime not spent investing in the Port of Virginia’s success is a future dollar in tax hikes… something to consider as we debate a post-sequestration and post-Washington future for Virginia’s economy.