Construction work and piling has started on the Ports of Auckland's new car storage building, sparking criticism from the upper North Island port study chief.

A port spokesman confirmed Hawkins had begun piling for the new five-level building on Bledisloe Wharf at 1-19 Quay St where work on a car handling facility building is under way.

Wayne Brown, chairman of the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy working group, questioned the project's timing and said construction should not have begun now.

"It is not a good idea to build the carpark yet. My thinking is a wise person, or director

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