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Richard Sinkoff is director of Environmental Programs and Planning for the Port of Oakland. In that role, Sinkoff leads the port's efforts to ensure the highest standards of regulatory compliance and environmental performance; improve responsiveness to environmental concerns raised by the community and port customers; increase the port's capacity to respond to emerging environmental regulations, policies, and conditions; and promote the port's strategic alignment efforts. Most recently, Sinkoff served as the port's environmental manager.
Prior to joining the Port of Oakland in 1992, Sinkoff worked as a city planning and environmental planning consultant for cities and counties throughout northern and southern California. Sinkoff received his Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, from Columbia University in New York City, and his master's degree in city and regional planning from the University of California, Berkeley, where he majored in land use planning and urban design.
In 2006, Sinkoff completed his juris doctorate from Golden Gate University School of Law. Sinkoff is also a member of the American Planning Association, the Urban Land Institute, and the American Institute of Certified Planners. He is fluent in Spanish, French, Portuguese and German.
David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity 00:01
Reducing the environmental impact at ocean ports. Women are making big impacts in supply chains. And B2B purchasing accelerates digital transformation. Pull up a chair and join us as the editors of DC Velocity discuss these stories, as well as news and supply chain trends, on this week's Logistics Matters podcast.
Hi, I'm Dave Maloney. I'm the editorial director at DC Velocity. Welcome.
Logistics Matters is sponsored by Honeywell Intelligrated. From system design and simulation to integrated warehouse automation software and technologies to AS/RS shuttles and robotics, Honeywell Intelligrated's end-to-end solutions address the most pressing e-commerce and labor challenges facing our industry. To learn more visit sps.honeywell.com.
As usual, our DC Velocity senior editors Ben Ames and Victoria Kickham will be along to provide their insight into the top stories of this week. But to begin today: We've reported in the past on a number of initiatives at ports across the country to reduce pollution and their carbon footprints. And now, a coalition that includes the Port of Oakland wants California to spend $2.25 billion on emissions-free freight hauling. Supply chain and environmental group sent that request to Sacramento this month, and to find out details of the program, as well as other initiatives at the port, we welcome our guest today. Richard Sinkoff is the director of environmental programs and planning at the Port of Oakland, California. Welcome, Richard, to Logistics Matters.
Richard Sinkoff, Director of Environmental Programs and Planning, Port of Oakland 01:39
Thank you so much. I'm delighted to be here.
David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity 01:42
We're pleased to have you with us. So, how serious is the emissions problem around our nation's ports, and what are the main causes?
Richard Sinkoff, Director of Environmental Programs and Planning, Port of Oakland 01:50
We see the problem as a serious one, and we're doing a lot to address it. The main source of emissions are the large ocean-going vessels—the water-bound equipment. So, we have programs at the Port of Oakland to plug in all of those vessels when they're at berth, loading and unloading cargo, and we also have initiatives addressing trucks and cargo-handling equipment. So, we're well on our way to addressing the major-source categories of emissions.
David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity 02:24
And I imagine, with the port being a fairly small area, those emissions just hang in the air and cause pollution in the surrounding region?
Richard Sinkoff, Director of Environmental Programs and Planning, Port of Oakland 02:32
Exactly. The the major pollutant that we're addressing is diesel particulate matter, and it's a heavy soot-like particle that does indeed hang in the air, and for that reason, it's a major concern of local residents and workers, because it can affect the respiratory system, and it can affect other aspects of public health. So, we've targeted diesel particulate matter as the major emissions category, and in the last 12 years, we've been able to reduce emissions at the Port of Oakland—the diesel emissions—by 80%, from these categories. So, again, we're well on our way to our 85% reduction target.
David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity 03:22
That's great progress. And, of course, you mentioned earlier about the new collaborative initiative that the Port of Oakland is undertaking with other groups to seek state funds to reduce that impact even more. Can you tell us about that new initiative?
Richard Sinkoff, Director of Environmental Programs and Planning, Port of Oakland 03:36
Yes. It's very exciting, and we do need to work across all platforms and with the entire goods-movement sector. So, this is an initiative to spend $2.25 billion on creating an emissions-free freight-hauling system in California, and it requires everyone to lean forward and be on deck.
David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity 04:02
Can you give us some specifics of the plan, such as how you achieve zero-emission trucks and handling equipment?
Richard Sinkoff, Director of Environmental Programs and Planning, Port of Oakland 04:09
Sure. Well, we break it down, again, by equipment and source category. So, trucking, of course, is the lifeblood of our goods-movement system in California, so we're targeting zero-emission trucks on the terminals themselves, and in the rail yards, you've got the cargo-handling equipment, so we're looking at near-zero and zero-emissions cargo-handling equipment. And then, in order for all of that equipment to be operational, we need to plug it in somehow. So, infrastructure, and building the infrastructure systems, including charging, is going to be a major component of this work, including a network of statewide charging stations.
David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity 04:57
So it's going to be impacted not just at the port, but throughout the state, right?
Richard Sinkoff, Director of Environmental Programs and Planning, Port of Oakland 05:03
Exactly, exactly. Beyond what we call the port's footprint or campus, we need to look at a statewide network of charging stations, particularly to support the trucks that really moves the bulk of the cargo up and down our state. So, it's going to be statewide, and it will focus on those goods-movement corridors that the state has identified.
David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity 05:31
Now, of course, California has the most active ports in the country, and you're not alone in this initiative. You're working with other ports as well, correct?
Richard Sinkoff, Director of Environmental Programs and Planning, Port of Oakland 05:40
Absolutely. We're really sister ports, is the best way to look at it. Particularly the ports in Southern California have been leaders in promoting zero-emissions technology. The Port of Oakland, here in Northern California, we have our own plan, it's called the 2020 and Beyond Pathway to Zero Emissions. But as colleagues, we are working collaboratively. If a project is successful in Long Beach, we get that information and we deploy it. We tailor it to Oakland, and vice versa. So, to get this work done, we all have to collaborate, share information, and work together.
David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity 06:26
Now $2.25 billion is a pretty big ask. What's the chances this will be able to make it through the legislature and the governor?
Richard Sinkoff, Director of Environmental Programs and Planning, Port of Oakland 06:35
Well, we're very hopeful, because this is a state priority. And California, as you know, really leans forward and leads the nation in advancing clean energy and clean technology. So, I think we have an opportunity right now, at the state level, with the leadership in place.
David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity 07:00
Now, of course, a lot of the headlines have been addressing congestion that has taken place at a lot of the ports, especially on the West Coast. And that, of course, when you have more congestion, that causes delays, which causes more environmental impact to it. So, what's being done to reduce that congestion and to make goods flow more easily, and to reduce that carbon footprint?
Richard Sinkoff, Director of Environmental Programs and Planning, Port of Oakland 07:21
Well, thanks for asking that. Here in Northern California, everyone has been talking about the number of ships at anchorage. We can see them from our homes, from the Bay Bridge. It's actually put the port's on the public's radar: What are all those ships doing there? So, the ships at anchorage are waiting for berth space, and that's a result of changes in consumer habits during the Covid pandemic. A lot of people are replacing appliances at home, and furniture, they're ordering online, and we've seen a tremendous surge of vessel traffic in the bay. On the land side, we have initiatives at the Port of Oakland, both technology initiatives and gate initiatives, to spread the activity out during the day, and also give the drivers—truck drivers—more certainty in terms of picking up their their cargo or dropping it off. So, again, we're talking about the supply chain. We're working as hard as we can with labor to get the ships unloaded and to get those ships from anchorage into the berth, and then, on the land side, to work with our trucking community and the terminals to ease the congestion at our gates and on our streets.
David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity 08:44
That's great. We've been talking with Richard Sinkoff, the director of environmental programs and planning at the Port of Oakland in California. And we wish you well on this initiative. I think it's something [that] would benefit all of us. Thanks for being with us today.
Richard Sinkoff, Director of Environmental Programs and Planning, Port of Oakland 08:57
You're very welcome. And thank you for the interest in the Port of Oakland.
David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity 09:01
Thank you, Richard. Now let's take a look at some of the other supply chain news from the week. Ben, you wrote this week about the rising number of women now working in and impacting the supply chain industry. What can you tell us?
Ben Ames, Senior News Editor, DC Velocity 09:16
That's right. Labor issues for supply chain employers may have taken something of a backseat during the pandemic, but as the economic recovery continues, many companies are struggling with the issue again. We heard this week that some companies in the supply chain sector may be finding a solution by turning to a part of the labor pool where they haven't really hired many workers before, and that's women. So, the number of women in the supply chain workforce has ticked up slightly over the past year, rising from 39% to 41% of the total labor pool between 2020 and 2021. That's according to the results of a study by Gartner and AWESOME, which is an industry group. That's an acronym for "achieving women's excellence in supply chain operations, management, and education." So, that 41% figure is a high point since the first edition of the survey came out in 2016, and the increase applied to nearly every level of supply chain professional, including first-line managers and supervisors, senior managers, directors, vice presidents. Part of the reason, according to Gartner, is the essential role that many logistics workers have held, of course, throughout the pandemic. That's according to Dana Stiffler—she's an analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain practice—and she said that, you know, she pointed out contrary to other industries, supply chain was mission critical throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. And that meant that those sectors involved did not reduce their workforces. Instead, they continued to hire, and some of them even faced talent shortages, particularly in product supply chains. So, that resulted, therefore, in many women not only standing their ground in supply chain organizations over the past year, but actually increasing their representation in those organizations.
David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity 11:09
Well, that sounds like good news for both employers and workers. Did the reports say what companies are doing to achieve it?
Ben Ames, Senior News Editor, DC Velocity 11:16
Right, and that's a good point. It is good news, you know, for both sides of the equation there. It's a win win. The report did address what some of the steps are that have been enabling this. However, it shows, as well, that employers still have plenty of work to do. For example, there was one level of seniority where the proportion of women in supply chain jobs did not rise over the past year, and that was the executive posts—the highest ones, where the proportion of women actually slipped, from 17% to 15%. That would be for titles like chief supply chain officer, senior vice president, or executive vice president—titles like that. And the survey showed that one reason for the success that did exist is that more than half of survey respondents said that an increasing challenge in this area is retaining midcareer women. So, the top reasons for that hurdle are lack of career opportunities, lack of development opportunities. Fortunately, the researchers said that there are two effective tools for increasing the number of women in the workforce, and that's to set goals and to have stated objectives, from the company's point of view. And both of those approaches are growing in popularity, according to the number of respondents that are following those and setting specific goals for how many women they want to be in their workforces. So, you know, the bottom line is there's a ways to go, but we're getting better clarity on how to get there and making—taking good steps.
David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity 12:47
Yes, more diversity in the industry is certainly a good thing. Thanks, Ben. And Victoria, you reported this week on how business purchases are accelerating digital transformation. Can you tell us more?
Victoria Kickham, Senior Editor, DC Velocity 12:59
Sure. Happy to, Dave. Yeah, so the race to digitally transform your business continues to accelerate. A study from digital marketing firm Avionos, released this week, digs into this issue and underscores how accelerated e-commerce activity in the past year continues to reshape the way business-to-business, B2B, buying is done. The company surveyed 150 B2B buyers at manufacturing, consumer packaged-goods, and financial services firms for its fourth annual B2B commerce report. And they found that most of those surveyed said they would change suppliers for a better digital experience. A full 90% indicated that they'd switch. The study also found that buyers own digital transformations in their personal lives over the course of the pandemic heightened their expectations for B2B digital experiences. Almost all the buyers surveyed—96%—have made a purchase for their company online since March 2020, and 63% said they plan to make more than half of their purchases online this year. Not surprisingly, remote work and the digitization of the procurement process has helped push this trend in 2021, and the researchers say that leaves B2B suppliers with a renewed mandate to improve the online buying experience—again, and move towards that digital transformation that we keep hearing about.
David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity 14:21
Victoria, you said this is the fourth annual report. How did the results compare to recent years, and what did these accelerating trends look like?
Victoria Kickham, Senior Editor, DC Velocity 14:29
Yeah, that's a good point. The comparisons paint a picture of just how fast buyers' needs and demands are changing, really, especially in the last two years. A couple of things illustrate that. First, B2B buyers said they would pay a premium for great e-commerce experiences: 87% of them said they would pay more for a supplier with an excellent e-commerce portal—and that's up from 81% in 2020 and 74% in 2019. The other interesting thing was that finding up-to-date product information is increasingly challenging, according to buyers. Almost half of them said finding up to date product or service information was a top challenge when researching purchases, and that's up from just 19% last year. A couple of other statistics stuck out, as well, that I wanted to mention. The first is that B2B suppliers say their technology doesn't always integrate well with buyers' technology. 42% of buyers said that they have difficulty integrating with their suppliers' tech solutions, and they listed it as a top pain point when it comes to supplier technology. And overall, those surveys said that B2B companies in general need to embrace change much more. 68% of buyers said they strongly agree that B2B companies must become more comfortable with change to thrive in this post-pandemic era.
David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity 15:53
Well, again, it's just another of the many changes we're seeing in supply chains as we emerge from the pandemic. Thanks, Victoria.
Victoria Kickham, Senior Editor, DC Velocity 16:00
David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity 16:01
We encourage listeners to go to DCVelocity.com for more on these and other supply chain stories, and check out the podcast Notes section for some direct links on the topics that we discussed today. Thanks, Ben and Victoria, for sharing highlights from the news this week.
Ben Ames, Senior News Editor, DC Velocity 16:16
Thank you always fun.
Victoria Kickham, Senior Editor, DC Velocity 16:17
My pleasure, Dave.
David Maloney, Editorial Director, DC Velocity 16:19
And thanks again to our guest, Richard Sinkoff of the Port of Oakland for being with us today. We encourage your comments on this topic and our other stories. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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And speaking of podcasts, Logistics Matters is sponsored by Honeywell Intelligrated. Be sure to check out the Honeywell Intelligrated On the Move podcast on Apple, Spotify, or Google. All episodes of their podcast series are also posted at sbs.honeywell.com/onthemovepodcasts. You can also find Honeywell Intelligrated on LinkedIn and Twitter by using the hashtag @Intelligrated. We'll be back again next week with another edition of Logistics Matters, when we will look at trends in warehouse automation with GXO's new chief investment officer, Mark Manduca, so be sure to join us. Until then, please stay safe and have a great week.