After the recent grain backlog, farmers are wondering how the railways plan to move this year's crop.

CN Rail’s Executive Vice-President of Corporate Services and Chief Legal Officer, Sean Finn, says they don't have a crystal ball when it comes to estimating the amount of grain they need to move.

"Typically we try and look at Stats Canada, we try and talk to grain producers, we try and look at the weather maps. We're not the experts on the yields on field, we move product in a grain car."

Changes through Bill C-49 will require the rail company to table a plan on how they intend to move the upcoming crop by Tuesday, July 31 based on current estimates.

"It's going to require between us, Transport Canada, the grain industry to have a better idea of what do we think the grain crop looks like, and it's hard to do in July, but that will continue to develop," Finn said. "But that mere fact we had the dialogue early on is that the people involved in the supply chains, they know we need to keep an eye on the crop."

Before the passage of Bill C-49, CN Rail said they would only invest in new grain cars if the Bill was passed without amendments.

He said those amendments would've put the rate of return on some of their business at risk.

"We didn't do it in a threatening way, we simply said, listen we'll invest in these cars as long as we understand what the rules are in respect to how we're regulated."

He says the amendments viewed as problematic to CN's capability to reinvest were not included in the Bill.

CN Rail has also been announcing big investments in their network across Canada.

Finn says they've increased their overall capital budget from $2.7 billion to $3.4 billion, meaning for every dollar the rail company earns, 25 cents is being invested to improve the rail network.

Through this record capital program for 2018, CN is investing $320 million to expand and strengthen Alberta's rail infrastructure.

"They're big investments to create more capacity," Finn said. "So as we get ready to face the incoming crop this Fall, the more challenging operating conditions we have as we get into late Fall, early Winter, will allow this capacity, try and make sure we catch up and we stay fluid as we get through operating challenges."

About 10 to 15 per cent of CN Rail's revenue comes from moving grain.

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