Aberdeen-based Breaking Point Limited halts all international business due to Brexit

A SCOTTISH business has ceased all international trade after its owner said the impact of Brexit was leading to long waiting times, missed parcels and exorbitant costs.

Derek Cowie founded Breaking Point Limited in 1996, which he claims is the UK’s largest seller of used motorcycle parts.

The Aberdeen-based company employs four people and despite Cowie’s Brexit setbacks, the owner said supply and demand were high.

Echoing similar calls from other Scottish businesses that have sold to the EU, Cowie said the new rules on foreign trade made it financially unviable for him to sell outside the UK.

He said, “We [were] just having so much trouble sending stuff overseas that it’s become useless. We couldn’t take it anymore. So I completely lost this business.

“I think we probably lost about 10% of our business.”

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Cowie said this comes on top of the lingering effects of the Covid pandemic and the cost of living crisis which is squeezing consumer wallets.

He continued: “I empty garages now too, and once I had emptied this old boy just a few years ago with so many old cars and everything was going to Europe.

“Tons went to Europe until November last year, then in December things started getting stuck at customs. He couldn’t get through and people there were getting paid extortionate just to pick up the damn stuff.

“And then we were also getting VAT bills for stuff that I had no idea what it was.

“We still get them a bit. UPS [has a] strange habit of sending invoices with nothing on them. They just say that you are liable for this VAT. And then you chase them away in the package that isn’t even yours.

Cowie said he knew it was Brexit that was wreaking havoc as it was his overseas shipments that were mainly affected by the new post-Brexit bureaucracy, adding that the problems started after the entry into force of departure from the UK.

He said: “It’s Brexit because we couldn’t bring things overseas. We couldn’t get codes for half of these products. We even lost business with Northern Ireland for a while.

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Cowie said if his company is sending an item out of the UK mainland via courier, they require a specific code relating to what’s inside the package. He said when he phoned the UK government many of the codes needed for second-hand parts simply did not exist.

“Because our parts are used, they fall into a different category, and they just couldn’t find the codes for them. So we just couldn’t send them,” he said.

But it’s not just trade with the EU that Brexit has affected, as Cowie puts it, international trade outside the EU is also much more difficult.

He explained: ‘So now we have a problem even to send anywhere overseas because I mean Britain has trade deals with hardly anyone.

“We tried several times and even Canada didn’t succeed because they said we didn’t have the right codes for the parts, the origin of the parts, because the parts can be made by two or three different countries .

“Nobody thinks at all about the second-hand market. And yet, really, I think it’s a very important market. We started recycling before it was fashionable.

Cowie said he felt his company had been overlooked by the UK government in the Brexit negotiations.

Cowie no longer sells overseas, and he says Brexit is causing problems with the way he plans for his business. And in the age of next and even same-day delivery, a two-week wait is more than most will tolerate.

“We cannot look outwards,” he explained. “And I’m really not confident anymore even to send to the United States or Canada.

“It’s not just that it costs more, it takes a lot longer for the parts to arrive. And people don’t want to wait a month, especially when paying on eBay – they want it tomorrow.

A spokesperson for the Department for International Trade said: “Through our Export Helpdesk, expansion of Export Academies and a historic export strategy, we are ensuring that businesses of all sizes have the support they need to trade effectively with Europe and seize new opportunities as we enter trade. offers worldwide.

“The export support we have offered and are continuing to develop will only help small businesses get on the export ladder for the first time, both with the EU and with all countries with which we regularly sign new free trade agreements.”

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