If what you want is a quotation or offer, then sending a letter of intent makes you look ignorant while requesting a quotation will generally at least make you look like you know what it is that you want. And what you want, after all, is a price quote. Hence you want to request a price quote, via a request for quotation.
Even taken at their word, it doesn't change the fact that they are using documentary procedures that are unusual, and abnormal. Contact any business college, or speak to established traders or people working for large multinational corporations. Talk directly to international bankers on this.